Twitter has been taking down Rio 2016 related tweets swiftly since the Games began, claiming it's breach of copyright. If you've recently got excited while watching some of the Olympics on TV, filmed it on your phone and tweeted a video of the action from your account, it could lead to suspension from the app. That's because there are strict copyright rules around the broadcasting of any Olympics coverage. But the removal of the protected material has lead to some criticism. Because people on the platform have questioned why Twitter seems to be so much quicker at responding to copyright infringement over Olympic coverage, but when it comes to hate speech, racism, harassment and sexism it's a longer process. According to Twitter, it's not as straight forward as you might think.

 

 

You can get in trouble for posting anything which is a breach of copyright. This includes videos, photos, logos and phrases which any company, in this case the International Olympics Committee's (IOC), has registered. The rules around the Olympics are more strict for companies as they are restricted from even using the hashtag #Rio2016 to affiliate themselves with the games. But if you're just a regular person, you're only likely to see a problem if you start sharing video of the event. If you've ever spotted the hashtag #Rule40 on Twitter or seen your favourite athlete mention it in a tweet, know it's IOC related. It's basically the rulebook on what can and can't be shared online. There was even a joke Twitter bot, not connected to the the Olympics, sending tweets warning people of violating copyright using #Rio2016. The account has now been suspended. So how does Twitter spot the violators?

 

 

Twitter bosses say the platform doesn't monitor posts, they only look into tweets which have actually been reported. But Newsbeat understands that the IOC has hired third party agencies to monitor the feeds of all social media platforms and report on their behalf. This could be one reason why it seems much more strict around Olympics coverage than other things like tweeting videos of a Premier League goal.

 

 

Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones seems to be getting away with it, back in July, Leslie quit Twitter after receiving a barrage of racial abuse. She also criticised Twitter for the way it had dealt with the problem. "Twitter I understand you got free speech. I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let it spread like that." But she returned five days later questioning "who else is going to live tweet Game of Thrones" and now she's been entertaining the masses with her Olympic coverage.  As well as videos showing her support, Leslie has streamed videos of her TV showing various Olympic events - exactly the kind of thing being taken down from other people's accounts. According to Twitter's terms and conditions, the platform will respond if breaches of copyright are flagged up. But only the rights holder, or a company approved by them, can successfully have a tweet removed for breach of copyright.  We have contacted the IOC for comment, but have not yet heard back.

 

 

And what about accounts tweeting hate speech, terrorism, racism and sexism? A recent Buzzfeed article highlighted just how strongly Twitter users feel about the way the website deals with reported content. But the removal of Olympic content vs offensive content has sparked a debate.  Anyone can report tweets if they feel it is in breach of the law or if they find it offensive and Twitter says "any material that is reported to us is reviewed by our dedicated team and our policies are enforced where appropriate". So are the IOC getting any special treatment? Twitter won't come on record to talk about a specific case and the IOC have not replied to our request for a comment so we can't be sure.

Photo Credit: 
bbc.co.uk

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