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Facebook Adds New Features for the Tokyo Olympics, Including a Games Hub and AR Effects

With the COVID-delayed 2020 Olympics now underway in Tokyo, Facebook has outlined a range of tools to help users engage with the event, including a dedicated Games hub, AR effects for Stories, and video highlights to keep you up to date.

Facebook’s main addition is its new Games hub, which will include highlights, team and athlete overviews, explainers of the events and more.

The hub will also feature notes on Olympic history for additional context, and will additionally highlight posts from your friends about the Games. You can also follow the hub to get alerts about Games updates.

You can check out the Facebook Olympics hub here or by clicking through on the #Olympics or #Tokyo2020 hashtags in the app.

On Instagram, you can participate in the Games via two new AR effects, which are now accessible through the effects tabs on both @olympics and @Tokyo2020 accounts.

Instagram Olympics AR effects
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As explained by Facebook:

In one AR effect, fans can attempt to mirror the movements of Miraitowa, the official Olympics mascot and earn AR medals for their performances. Another effect features the official beat music of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

As far as AR effects go, they’re not amazing, but it’s another way to engage with themed content, which could be of interest to those feeling gold fever and looking for more ways to take part.

Over on WhatsApp, Facebook has released a new Olympics chatbot, which will provide details on the Games schedule, information on local broadcasts, and the latest news and medal standings.

WhatsApp Olympics chatbot

​​The chatbot will also include official stickers, as well as quizzes on the various Olympic events to boost fan engagement.

And finally, Facebook will also be directly and indirectly hosting video highlights from the Games throughout the event.

“In select countries, fans will have access to highlights from Tokyo 2020, athlete profiles and interviews throughout the course of the Games via official Olympic broadcasters’ Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts. This includes NBC Universal in the US, Eurosport for parts of Europe, and beIN in the Middle East and North Africa. In select territories including India, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Spanish-speaking Latin America, fans can see the day’s highlights from Tokyo on the official Olympics Facebook Page.” 

It’s hard to estimate how big a deal the Games will be this year, given the COVID delay, and the ongoing pandemic situation in host nation Japan. Even now, with events underway, it still feels like it could get called off at any moment, or that an outbreak could occur within the Olympic village, which somewhat tempers excitement around the event. 

There’s also the fact that there’ll be no fans for the first time ever – which means that if somebody does break a world record, they’ll be met with a smattering of claps from coaches, and outside of that, cold silence throughout those huge stadiums.

That seems like it could make for a very strange event, but maybe, people are also keen for an escape from the ongoing lockdowns and concerns. Maybe then, the Olympics is coming at just the right time.

Given the uncertainty, nobody really knows what to expect – but if you are looking for more info on the Games, and ways to engage, Facebook now has options to consider.




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