London2012 IOC to Go Easy on Fans Who Share Olympic Video
July 19, 2012
Social media users who take video of Olympic events and share it with their
friends, even on public profiles, will not incur the wrath of the International
Olympic Committee, a senior IOC official confirmed Wednesday.
Mark Adams, communications director for the IOC, said the guidelines
were about preventing commercial companies from exploiting the Olympics for
their own benefit, not about keeping ordinary fans from sharing clips with
Speaking at the launch of the IOC’s social media strategy in the Olympic
Village late Wednesday, Mr. Adams said that while there were no restrictions on
spectators sharing photos, they were asked not to post videos on social media
sites. But he acknowledged that the IOC would not enforce the rule except in the
most egregious cases.
“Auntie Mabel in Norwich is not going to get a knock on the door at midnight
and told to take something down,” he said. “The main reason we do this is to
stop companies making money out of the Olympics who don’t put any money back
into the sport.”
He confirmed that athletes would be restricted in their use of social media.
For example, they won’t be allowed to promote commercial products from
non-Olympic sponsors, but he said this was simply an extention of the existing
IOC guidelines into the realm of social media.
Mr. Adams was speaking at the unveiling of the Olympic social media strategy,
a broad plan to use the full gamut of social media platforms — from Twitter (@olympics) and Facebook, through
Foursquare, Tumblr and Instagram.
While there was no official social media strategy during Beijing Olympics in
2008, Mr. Adams said the Vancouver Games allowed the IOC to take “baby steps.”
He described the London Olympics as the first one to make full use of social
At the heart of the Olympic strategy is an aggregation tool bringing together
the Twitter and Facebook feeds of Olympians, sports bodies and national
organizations into a single portal — the Olympic Hub (http://www.olympic.org/hub), which is
searchable by athlete, team, sport, discipline, and event.
In the light of the controversy surrounding Twitter posts by some sports
competitors, Mr. Adams said the feeds available through the Olympic Hub would be
post-moderated, although the individual accounts of the athletes themselves were
In a patchy Skype interview with South Africa’s Oscar Pistorious, the
400-meter runner admitted to being an active Twitter user and said he personally
runs his own account. His Facebook page is updated by his management team. He
said he hadn’t yet read the IOC’s guidelines for competitors, which prohibits
Olympians from using social media to promote brands that were not Olympic
There are currently some 2,000 Olympians using the service, according to IOC
social media chief Alex Hout. He predicted the figure would rise to 5,000 during
As well as aggregating feeds, the hub will host Facebook quizzes, Twitter
conversations and a daily photographic competition. The feeds will be available
via an Olympic Tumblr account (olympics.tumblr.com), one of four set up
for the London Games. The sites today are sparsely populated.
The IOC struck a deal with Getty Images to allow selected images to be shared
on a special Tumblr site (olympicmoments.tumblr.com). These
images would be available for all fans to circulate and share for personal (not
commercial) use, although Mr. Hout stressed that copyright remained with the
Other Tumblr sites include one dedicated to Olympic fashion (olympicfashion.tumblr.com), as well
one called “Faces of Olympians” (facesofolympians.tumblr.com), an
Instagram feed based on its campaign aimed at showing the human side of the
The IOC’s Foursquare campaign (foursquare.com/olympics) is a sort of modern-day treasure hunt.
Users of the location-based service that check into certain Olympic venues will
be able to unlock badges and be entered for a draw to win two tickets to an
event the following day.
Finally, the IOC will use Google’s social network, Google+. Mr. Hout said the
content shared via Google+ would have more of
a technology edge, reflecting the social network’s more “geeky” image.