London 2012

IOC stands by 'social media Olympics' push

The International Olympic Committee has no regrets over dubbing London 2012 the ‘social media Olympics’, it says.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said some 15 million social media fans are following the Olympics and their involvement is positively encouraged.

It comes after Switzerland defender Michel Morganella became the second athlete to be expelled from the Games for directing an allegedly racist insult at South Koreans on Twitter.

Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was not even allowed to travel to the Olympics after posting a message which mocked African immigrants.

Police were also investigating today after British diver Tom Daley was sent a series of malicious messages that led to an arrest.

Mark Adams, the IOC's communications director, denied he regretted dubbing London 2012 the "social media Olympics".

He said: "The IOC, the Olympics, we have about 15 million social media fans; we are encouraging people to take part in social media; I know that Locog are doing similar things.

"To be frank, it would be a little bit like King Canute if we said, 'No, these aren't the social media games', because everyone has decided they are anyway.

"We will help people have a good time and social media is a new way of doing that, so fine."

He added that the IOC would not seek to control Twitter, saying: "I don't think we have any major concerns."

Social media has only been around for six or seven years whereas rules governing athletes' behaviour have been around much longer, he added.

"Clearly, issues are raised more quickly but they are still the same issues that we have to deal with, and if an athlete or a member of the public, we would not be involved in a member of the public, but if an athlete makes a comment which contravenes one of those rules, as has happened, then we will take action," Adams said.

"But we embrace, used in the right way, social media, and if you look at the guidelines we positively encourage it."

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