Last Thursday social media users worldwide were shocked by the news that the International Olympic Committee had banned the creation of Vines and GIFs by news organisations. According to the IOC’s guidelines for news outlets covering the games, such content types are “expressly prohibited.”
If there are two things that were always meant to be together, they are social media and GIFs. Now it seems that those users and professionals wanting to use those fabulous little animated images to express themselves in social media discussions about the 2016 Rio Olympics do so at their own peril.
The IOC’s regulations have been subject to a vast amount of criticism for the fastidiousness of their restrictions, the extent of which some would consider un-achievable. Recently they came under-fire for banning unofficial sponsors from using a (considerably comprehensive) selection of words in their campaigns, including Rio de Janeiro, gold, silver, bronze, medal, summer, games, olympian, and even performance.
“The use of Olympic Material transformed into graphic animated formats such as animated GIFs (ie GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others, is expressly prohibited.”
The extent to which the IOC will go to/be able to go to stop news outlets and organisations from sharing or hosting GIFs created by external sources, for example non-professional social media users is as yet unclear.
Rule 40 was reportedly created “to preserve the unique nature of the Olympic Games by preventing over-commercialisations”. At the moment it’s unclear if it is actually capable of doing that, just that it will limit how much businesses who aren’t multi-billion dollar corporations will be able to get involved in social media discussions.
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