Facebook says it mistakenly blocked sprint queen Thompson-Herah from Instagram

Posted at 5:51 PM, Aug 04, 2021

Facebook mistakenly blocked gold medalist sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah from her Instagram account, the company said on Wednesday.

The Jamaican sprinter, considered the fastest woman in the world, had tweeted that she had been blocked for posting videos of her victorious 100- and 200-meter races because she "did not own the right to do so." However, a Facebook spokesperson later said that while the content was removed, the suspension was wrongly applied.

Thompson-Herah defended her Olympic titles from the Rio 2016 Olympics over the two distances in Tokyo, making it four Olympic gold medals from two Games. But her attempt to share her Tokyo competitions with her 310,000 followers on Facebook-owned Instagram appeared to have backfired.

She later posted on her Instagram Stories that the block had been cleared with smiling emojis.

Thompson-Herah is due to compete in the women's 4x100-meter relay on Thursday and, should Jamaica qualify for the final, on Friday. She had won a silver medal with her teammates in Rio.

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Social media has increasingly become a key way for audiences to engage with the Games. This year, athletes have posted viral Tik Toks from behind the scenes, including jumping on their much-discussed cardboard beds to dispel the "anti-sex" myth.

But there are copyright and other restrictions on the kinds of online content that can be posted from the Games. The IOC said the removal of unauthorized content on social media was an automatic process.

"Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) have the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympic Games," the IOC told Reuters. "This includes distribution on social media, where athletes are invited to share the content provided by the RHBs on their accounts but cannot post competition content natively. Should that occur, the removal of such content from social media platforms happens automatically."

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