The 2012 London Olympics have been dubbed the first “social” Olympics, whatever that means. But, don’t be misguided and think that means spectators can post their photos and videos to Facebook or that athletes can tweet about their competition. There a whole host of restrictions on what sort of imagery, branding, and tweeting can and can’t be shared from the upcoming summer Olympics.
Victoria Pendleton will not be able to tweet about tucking into her Weetabix on the morning of race day, or post a video message to fans from her room in the athletes' village.
Pub landlords will be banned from posting signs reading: "Come and watch the London Games from our big screen!"
Fans in the crowd won't be allowed to upload snippets of the day's action to YouTube – or even, potentially, to post their snaps from inside the Olympic Village on Facebook. And a crack team of branding "police", the Games organisers Locog have acknowledged, will be checking every bathroom in every Olympic venue – with the power to remove or tape over manufacturers' logos even on soap dispensers, wash basins and toilets.
The rules are so strict, in a bid to protect contracts signed to generate vast sums of sponsorship money for the Games, that athletes are not allowed to have their photos taken next to branded products that are not official sponsors of the Games. Even Twitter is disallowing non-official sponsors with promoted ads under Olympic trademarks, such as #London2012.
The London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog) said the protections were necessary to secure contracts and sponsors for the Games. Rules are stricter for the team of 70,000 volunteers at the Games, who were told not to post updates and photos on social networks, or discuss details about their roles or the locations of athletes and VIPs at the events. Locog released a set of blogging policies which include "advertising and sponsorship" guidelines that state their blogs "must not include any commercial reference in connection with any Olympic content" other than that of the Game's sponsors.
The long list of "don'ts" leaves people wondering the organizers even bothered to launch the Athletes' Hub, touted as a one-stop social-media portal to offer fans a way to connect with their favorite athletes and sports.
“Images, video and sound recordings of the Games taken by a Ticket Holder cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes and a Ticket Holder may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the Internet more generally.”
So this implies, no Facebook "Share", no Instagram, not Tweets, nothing at all. In short, you shouldn't tell anyone you went to Olympics!!
UK photographers are already being hassled for taking photos of the Olympic “city” from public places, which suggests perhaps that London should spring for a geodesic dome to cover the proceedings in mystery and smash cameras of errant Tweeters.