Rule 49 of the Olympic Charter says: “Only those persons accredited as media may act as journalists, reporters or in any other media capacity.”
Ambiguous, you might say, and Olympic stars agree.
American skier Lindsey Vonn tweeted, “Because of the Olympic rules (blackout period) I will not be able to post any updates from now until march 3rd. Sorry, it bums me out too!”
Meanwhile, speedskater Nick Pearson also tweeted that “Due to Olympic regulations I can no longer post pics on Twitter through the Olympics.” Too bad.
Complete social media black-out, you say? Oh, Olympic Committee, it’s 2010, and the time for transparency is here.
Thankfully, they seem to be aware of that, and they quickly clarified that athletes can write, but must keep their content confined to their personal experiences. “You can’t act as a journalist if you aren’t,” says Condron, an official. “You need to do things in a first person way.”. Athletes also can’t reference sponsors or advertisers who are not official Olympic partners.
Okay. So I guess writing in third person is out of the question. And you can’t post a picture of yourself if you’re wearing an Adidas top, even if it’s your lucky shirt. You can’t act like a journalist, whatever the hell that means.
I’m not an Olympic athlete (by a long shot) and I’m confused.
Are Social Media Bans Justifiable?
Perhaps they are, if you work at the army or with the CIA.
Blocking social media access is just another form of censorship. Many organizations are still not comfortable with the possibility of airing their dirty laundry, and many others are trying to constrict the media freedom offered by social media.
In the workplace, things are worse. According to a study by Robert Half Technologies, 54 percent of CIOs prohibit any social media use in the office, not even for business-related purposes.
Fortunately, there are some silver linings:
Last year, there was a huge debate in the sporting world when the American Southeastern Conference informed its schools of the new policy, which read: “Ticketed fans can’t “produce or disseminate (or aid in producing or disseminating) any material or information about the Event, including, but not limited to, any account, description, picture, video, audio, reproduction or other information concerning the Event.” That imposed bans on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
Thankfully though, they later ammended their policy to read:
“No Bearer may produce or disseminate in any form a “real-time” description or transmission of the Event (i) for commercial or business use, or (ii) in any manner that constitutes, or is intended to provide or is promoted or marketed as, a substitute for radio, television or video coverage of such Event. Personal messages and updates of scores or other brief descriptions of the competition throughout the Event are acceptable. If the SEC deems that a Bearer is producing a commercial or real-time description of the Event, the SEC reserves the right to pursue all available remedies against the Bearer.”
What do you think, are social media bans justified? What about vague ones, like the policy for the Olympics? I personally feel like it gives the committee the opportunity to sit on the fence, rather than clearly put out a rule.