Twitter Removes Users “Pirated” World Cup Avatars

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Twitter has removed the profile pictures of several of its users after the company received a takedown notice from World Cup organizer FIFA. The football organization forbids the use of any of its official logos and emblems on social media, including pictures of the World Cup trophy.

fifa-takedownWhile over a billion people are enjoying the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, organizer FIFA is working around the clock to make sure that their rights are protected.

Stopping pirated live streams is one of the main priorities, but there is another concern. In all the excitement many social media users have added World Cup related logos and other pictures as their avatars, something that’s strictly forbidden by FIFA.

The football organization fears that use of their logos and emblems by others may cause serious damage. FIFA believes that this endangers the entire worldwide football community.

“Any unauthorized use of the Official Marks not only undermines the integrity of the FIFA World Cup™ and its marketing programme, but also puts the interests of the worldwide football community at stake,” FIFA says in an official statement.

Social media is particularly worrisome because the official logos may lead followers to believe that the user is somehow related to FIFA.

“FIFA’s official logos, symbols and other graphic trade marks may not be used on any social media platform. FIFA’s Protected Terms may not be used to create the impression that a page is officially related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” FIFA notes.

Considering the above FIFA sees no other option than to crackdown on Twitter users with official FIFA logos and images as avatars. In recent weeks Twitter has been asked to take action against several of its users, by removing their infringing profile pictures.

FIFA takedown notice


The requests were made for a wide variety of images including the World Cup emblem, logo and even the trophy. Twitter appears to have honored the requests and has replaced the infringing avatars with the default egg.

Most of the targeted accounts seem to be specifically related to football. However FIFA has also asked Twitter to remove the profile picture of @afobajee, a relatively random user.

Most of the affected users have changed their profile pictures to something non-infringing. However, others appear to have simply switched back to using official FIFA material.

We expect that FIFA still has their eye on the ball, so these infringing profile pictures probably won’t stay online for very long.

Infringing profile picture



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