France wants French Twitter users to stop referring to hashtags in favor of a new, au français definition: mot-dièse (sharp word).
The decision was made by a government office, the Commission Générale de Terminologie et de Néologie, which is tasked with inventing French-language equivalents to foreign-language terms found popping up in France.
While Twitter users in France won’t be penalized for referring to hashtags, all official French government legislation and correspondence will be required to refer to mot-dièses instead of hashtags. Back in 2003, the same commission mandated French citizens refer to email as courriel with some success. Compared to other Western governments, France actively takes an interventionist approach to Internet use within the country: Various protectionist Internet laws have been proposed, including taxing Internet companies for data mining. All this is in addition to paternalist policies surrounding the French language to stop cross-cultural fusion like le hamburger. Maybe they’re just nostalgic for the days of the Minitel?