The NFL’s new rules for Twitter and Facebook prevent official team social media account from posting game highlights, including GIFs. It’s a ridiculous, money-grubbing move that punishes fans and benefits nobody, and now it seems several teams have resorted to outright mocking the restrictions. It’s a beautiful sight to behold:
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 16, 2016
TOUCHDOWN BROWNS! pic.twitter.com/RjRt9DVlpB
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 16, 2016
Prior to the rule shift, teams would simply cut interesting highlights out of a game broadcast and tweet the clips or GIFs for fans to enjoy. Once the NFL realized they could sell ads against Twitter clips, those freebies were suddenly potential money-making opportunities, and anyone who knows the NFL knows that such opportunities never go unexploited.
The league would prefer for teams to retweet and share the highlights being posted from the official NFL Twitter account, as those clips have ads embedded that generate sweet, sweet cash. But even the teams that didn’t resort to downright mockery chose to ignore the NFL’s wishes and created their own generic celebration GIFs and images to tweet instead:
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 9, 2016
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 9, 2016
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 9, 2016
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 16, 2016
It’s a crappy situation for fans who just want to enjoy the games and celebrate the sport—and it seems to run counter to Twitter’s high-profile investment in Thursday Night Football.
In many cases, the cost of NFL stadiums is absorbed in part (or in full) by taxpayers. The fact that the NFL is banning the free sharing of GIFs—GIFs, seriously, we need to emphasize that this isn’t a broadcast; it’s a two-second animated image—is downright hostile to the people who make the league what it is.