2012 Olympic Organizers Limit Facebook Use

The organizing committee for the 2012 Olympic Games in London has released its social media policy for the event's 70,000-plus volunteers that aims to restrict their social media activity during the summer competition.

The organizing committee for the 2012 Olympic Games in London has released its social media policy for the event’s 70,000-plus volunteers that aims to restrict their social media activity during the summer competition.

Based on the responses to the policy on the Game Makers Facebook page — that’s the official page for the games’ volunteers — the policy has many asking what exactly they’ve signed up for?

Some of the more surprising rules: No Facebook posts about VIPs backstage, nor any photos of them. And, no details about a volunteers’ role or location or any information about athletes and other dignitaries.

The policy was announced on the Game Makers Facebook page, with a link to a password-only section of the official web site.

The BBC obtained a list of the rules taken from the policy’s “what to do and what not to do” section, which warns volunteers not to:

  • Disclose their location;
  • Post a picture or video of backstage areas closed to the public;
  • Disclose breaking news about an athlete;
  • Tell their social network about any athlete or celebrity; nor
  • Get involved in detailed discussion about the games online.

However, participants are allowed to retweet official London 2012 postings and otherwise relay official information releases.

All social media will be managed by the Olympic organizing committee’s communications team, the policy goes on to state.

We understand the committee’s attempt to impose some control over the security and messaging around the Summer Olympics. The policies above would certainly help prevent acts of terrorism and otherwise promote safety. But enforcing the policy seems challenging, though, and some of the restrictions are a touch overbearing.

The committee has myriad stakeholders — media, corporate sponsors, athletes, governments — that it needs to appease. And it will be interesting to see how these audiences manage what could be the first socially networked Olympic Games.

Below are some of the comments from Facebook regarding the policy. Readers, do you think the Olympic committee’s policy is too restrictive?