The International Olympic Committee Officially Bans GIFs of the Rio Games

Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use
Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use / Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use

Sorry, internet lovers: This summer, you’ll have to stick to TV broadcasters’ playbacks of Olympics highlights instead of enjoying them in Vine, Instagram video, or GIF form. According to Quartz, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has passed new rules banning news organizations from creating brief, looping videos and animated image files of the Rio 2016 Summer Games.

The IOC’s new rule [PDF]—which prohibits individuals from making “animated GIFs (i.e. GIFV), GFY, WebM, or short video formats such as Vines and others"—ensures that audiences are tuning into broadcasters’ official coverage of the global, 16-day-long sporting event. As Fortune points out, networks like NBC paid more than $1 billion to secure exclusive TV rights of the Rio Games—and they’re afraid that audiences won’t watch their footage if they can catch the best parts elsewhere. Along the same lines, the IOC has also barred media organizations from broadcasting Olympic moments via video-on-demand platforms, or on “interactive services” that aren’t part of an official news program.

According to The Guardian, the anti-GIF and Vine rules aren’t new. In fact, the IOC’s Rule Book was originally published more than one year ago, in May 2015. But the rule only gained widespread attention after last week, when Natalie DiBlasio, digital editor at USA Today, noticed it and pointed it out in a tweet.

Social media users have railed against the IOC’s new restrictions, mourning the loss of shareable, byte-sized moments like this viral 2012 GIF of gymnast McKayla Maroney’s perfect vault. But as New York magazine points out, the IOC’s ban on GIFs and Vine will be pretty hard to enforce at large. Certified media companies won’t be making them, but plenty of ordinary internet users likely will—so don’t be surprised if you still see a few looping or animated athletic high points popping up on your social media feeds during the next two weeks.

[h/t Quartz]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at