David Goldman / AP
Facebook says the company mistakenly blocked Jamaican gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah from Instagram.
Sprinter Thompson-Herah, the fastest woman in the world, tweeted that she had been blocked on the platform for posting videos of her 100 and 200-meter runs, videos to which she did not have the rights.
I was blocked on Instagram for posting the Olympic races because I did not have the right to do so. So see you in 2 days
– Elaine Thompson Herah (@FastElaine) August 3, 2021
“So see you in 2 days,” she wrote.
The videos were removed, but a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told NPR that Thompson-Herah’s suspension was an accident and his access to the post was quickly restored.
The athlete then posted on Instagram Stories that the block was removed.
Thompson-Herah’s tweet sparked public outcry on the platform. Support messages filled his comments, including one by American singer-songwriter Anita Baker.
Athletes, artists, creatives, have rights over their own image and likeness
– Anita Baker (@IAMANITABAKER) August 3, 2021
“Athletes, artists, creatives have rights to their own image and likeness,” the singer wrote.
According to the International Olympic Committee social and digital media guidelines, Olympic athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Games may share Olympic Games content on their personal social media accounts, with certain restrictions.
The committee said Reuters that the removal of unauthorized content on social networks is automatic.
“Rights-holder broadcasters (RHBs) have the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympic Games,” said the IOC. “This includes distribution on social media, where athletes are invited to share content provided by RHBs on their accounts but cannot publish competition content natively. If this happens, the removal of this content from social media platforms occurs automatically. “
The content in question? One of the videos was from the last 100-meter race which showed why Thompson-Herah is, indeed, “the fastest woman in the world”. Reigning gold medalist for the race, she set the second fastest time in the history of the event and broke Florence Griffith Joyner’s Olympic record.
Josie Fischels is an intern at the News Desk at NPR.