The IOC has a lot to worry about this Olympics: making sure the athletes are safe, making sure the media is safe, making sure the press knows they are NOT allowed under any circumstances to share GIFs… wait, what!? Yes, that’s correct, the International Olympic Committee has banned GIFs.
The news broke this morning when the IOC released their rules for news agencies covering the Olympics. Among those rules was this little tidbit about sharing GIFs, vines, and other short video formats:
…the use of Olympic Material transformed into graphic animated formats such as animated GIFs (i.e. GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others, is expressly prohibited.
The reason? The official rights holder is NBC, and the IOC is protecting them by not allowing news agencies to share GIFs that might keep you from watching the actual broadcast on television. Why watch the actual event if you can see the highlights—both hilarious and impressive—in GIF form on your Twitter feed?
Given the massive popularity of GIFs on social media the Internet’s reaction to the ban has been… less-than-supportive. Most of the reaction online seems to revolve around wishing the IOC “good luck” enforcing the rule:
The IOC putting a hard ban on ppl making gifs & vines using Olympic footage is HILARIOUS. Further proof that they're completely out of touch
— Ash (@ANakedLight) August 5, 2016
— Howard Riefs (@hriefs) August 5, 2016
— Jeff Halliday (@jeffhalliday) August 5, 2016
The IOC is trying to ban press outlets from making GIFs of Olympic events this year. Good luck with that. pic.twitter.com/6fCWrQpXk7
— Karl Hodge (@karlhodge) August 5, 2016
It’s cute that IOC thinks they can successfully ban gifs of the Olympics
— Amelia Gapin (@EntirelyAmelia) August 5, 2016
It’s not exactly the Streisand effect in action, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Rio now turns out to be the most GIF-ed out Summer Olympics in history. Just don’t expect any official GIF roundups like this.