There is no doubt that social media is a powerful influence when a world-wide organization like the Olympics makes rules against its use. Social media platforms are a powerful forum to spread ideas, business, and promotion. You can go to Twitter right now and participate in the campaign with the hashtag #rule40 to add your two cents if you think these rules are just or unfair. You can see the power of social media at work with the discussion of an idea that brings people from all over the world together under one topic.
American athletes lead revolt against IOC ban on social media use to promote sponsors
LONDON – American athletes risked disqualification by leading a revolt against the International Olympic Committee on Monday and its draconian laws of forbidding competitors from using social media to promote their sponsors.
Spurred on by the outspoken words of members of the United States team, Olympians from around the world launched a Twitter campaign under the hashtags #Rule40 and #WeDemandChange in an attempt to pressure the IOC into action.
Rule 40 is the section in the athletes’ code of conduct that warns anyone flouting the strict guidelines on the use of social media as a promotional tool will be expelled from the Games.
Dozens of athletes responded angrily, including U.S. 400-meter star runner Sanya Richards-Ross.
“I’d love to show my great sponsors love,” Richards-Ross said. “I am one of the very fortunate athletes that work with wonderful sponsors during the Olympic year. [This is an] injustice.”
Others took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, although most were careful to avoid any direct mention of the companies that endorse them.
The IOC also frowns upon strong criticism of the organization. National committees warned their athletes that any act of dissent, such as the Rule 40 tweets, could be grounds for disqualification.
That did not stop U.S. 20-kilometer race walker Maria Michta, who gave a heartfelt and eloquent description of how the regulations have affected her.