Uproar over gold medallist's 'insulting' ban after Olympics triumph

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Elaine Thompson-Herah, pictured here with her gold medal after winning the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics.
Elaine Thompson-Herah celebrates with her gold medal after winning the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Facebook has sparked outrage at the Olympics after banning Jamaica's double gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah from Instagram.

Fans were left fuming on Wednesday when Thompson-Herah said she had been blocked on Instagram for posting videos of her victorious 100 and 200 metres races.

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The sprint queen led a Jamaican clean-sweep of the medals in the 100m final last week, before emulating Usain Bolt by also winning the 200m gold in back-to-back Olympic Games.

But her attempt to share her accomplishments with her 310,000 followers on Instagram backfired brutally when she was blocked for copyright infringement.

"I was blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympic (sic) because I did not own the right to do so. So see y'all in 2 days," the sprinter wrote on Twitter.

Later on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Facebook said the content was removed correctly, but the suspension was wrongly applied and Thompson-Herah had been reinstated.

Social media has increasingly became a key way for audiences to engage with athletes at the Olympics.

However there are copyright and other restrictions on the kinds of online content that can be posted.

The International Olympic Committee said the removal of unauthorised content on social media was an automatic process.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson, pictured here after the 100m final at the Olympics.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson celebrate after the 100m final. (Wally Skalij /Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

"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."

Thompson-Herah later posted on her Instagram Stories that the block had been cleared.

However the initial ban left commentators and fans seething, with many labelling it "insulting" and "disgusting".

Thompson-Herah chasing third gold at Tokyo Olympics

The Olympic committee has relaxed some of the more restrictive social media rules in recent years.

As recently as Rio 2016 its guidelines stipulated participants had to get prior approval from the IOC to post audio or video content within Olympic venues. 

However its rules still do not allow audio or video of the "field of play" or "back of house" areas.

The IOC will receive more than $A5.4 billion in broadcasting rights for the period including the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the Tokyo Games, much of which goes back into the Games and in supporting sports and athletes.

"The income from the sales of the broadcasting rights is an important element in the financing of the Olympic movement and helps building the Olympic stage on which athletes can shine," it said.

Thompson-Herah is due to compete in the women's 4x100 metres relay on Thursday.

Should Jamaica qualify for the final, she can match Bolt again by winning three gold medals at one Olympic Games.

She won a silver medal with her teammates at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

with agencies

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