Anna Flanagan is against a social media ban ©Getty Images

Australian hockey star Anna Flanagan has urged caution after her country's proposed crackdown on social media use at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

After failing to meet expectations at London 2012, the hashtag "tweet or compete" has been introduced by Australia with some believing that sites such as Twitter proved to be a distraction during the London Games.

Australian Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller urged athletes to limit their online use but 23-year-old Flanagan, who has just short of 20,000 Twitter followers, is against any ban.

"I think it would be disappointing if they put bans on it because you are denying the public that insight,” said Flanagan, who also has 51,000 followers on picture sharing site Instagram, to Australia's Daily Telegraph.

"You can have regulations around it, whether it be don’t use hours before your race or event.

Sally Pearson said restricting social media use helped her to hurdles gold in London
Sally Pearson said restricting social media use helped her to hurdles gold in London ©Getty Images

"When we’re at hockey, at the game, we’re not going to just whip out the phone at half time.

"You can have those regulations, but to ban it I think is more of a disservice to the sport.

“For some it’s a good outlet, for others it may not be."

Flanagan, who competed at the London 2012 Games, is hopeful of making Australia's final 16-strong squad for Rio.

Chiller had earlier said athletes were worried about what people might say online, but not about the distraction.

"Our athletes in London didn’t understand, and we didn’t understand either, the dangers or the distraction," she said.

Australian hurdler Sally Pearson and compatriot sprint cyclist Anna Meares, two of Australia's gold medal winners at London 2012, said that switching off social media boosted their cause.

However, swimmer Emily Seebohm said it may have cost her the gold medal in the 100 metres backstroke.

She set an Olympic record of 58.23sec in her semi-final but missed out in the final to American Missy Franklin.