Twitter has moved to remove a fake account which styled itself as a tool being used by Rio 2016 organisers to prevent non-sponsors from gate-crashing the event online.
Rule 40 is meant to prevent anyone who is not a direct sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) or the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from tweeting or posting about the Olympics.
The bot (@Official_Rule40) claimed to provide “automated alerts for infringement of Rio 2016 guidelines.” It appeared to be replying to almost anyone who used any Olympic-related hashtags including #Rio2016 and #TeamUSA with a generic message warning them that they were violating Games rules.
Even the Pope and Donald Trump were not exempt from a ticking off, being warned: “You are in violation of Rio 2016 guidelines. Please refrain from using official Olympic related terms. #RioBot #Rule40.”
Twitter has yet to comment on why the account has been suspended, but it’s likely to have been removed for pretending that it was associated with the official Games.
Rule 40 has been relaxed in time for this year’s Olympics with non-official sponsors now able to use athletes in their marketing in the run up to and during the games. Rio 2016 bosses have separately banned unofficial media from using GIFs of the games online.