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Tue July 31, 2012
Did Twitter Go Too Far When It Suspended Critic Of NBC's Olympics Coverage?
Originally published on Wed August 1, 2012 5:54 am
Update at 1:45 p.m. ET. Adams Has Been Reinstated On Twitter:
Guy Adams just tweeted that "Oh. My Twitter account appears to have been un-suspended. Did I miss much while I was away?"
That doesn't change the thrust of our post. And we haven't heard back from Twitter about his questions regarding the suspension.
Update at 4:23 p.m. ET. Twitter's Response:
Twitter has issued a statement about the incident. It clarifies that the terms of service states that a person can complain about the posting of their private information, "because it may be used to harass or intimidate, and in certain circumstances may even be illegal."
Twitter also apologized for flagging the post to NBC and encouraging them to lodge a complaint.
"This behavior is not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us," Alex Macgillivray, Twitter's general counsel, said. "We should not and cannot be in the business of proactively monitoring and flagging content, no matter who the user is — whether a business partner, celebrity or friend."
We'll pick up here with our original post:
After having his Twitter account suspended for allegedly violating the micro-blogging site's rules by posting the email address of an NBC executive, a journalist for Great Britain's The Independent is wondering whether it's Twitter that did the rule-breaking.
Guy Adams had been, until his suspension earlier this week, one of the leading voices contributing thoughts to the #NBCFail trending topic that's been cataloging the things that many folks don't like about the way the network is covering the London Olympics. (Among the top complaints: Not showing key events live.)
Today, Adams writes about the suspension, his desire to get back on Twitter and why he thinks it's not him who broke the rules.
As Adams points out in a message he says he sent to Twitter, "you claim that I posted a 'private email address.' I did no such thing. I posted a corporate email address, not a private one." And, he adds that NBC executive Gary Zenkel's email address "HAD been posted on the internet prior to being put on Twitter."
Finally, Adams says it appears Twitter contacted NBC "to encourage them to have a hostile journalist removed from the Twitter-sphere." That, he says, would seem to run "against everything your company is supposed to represent."
We've asked Twitter to comment on what Adams is alleging. We'll update if we hear back.
As for what Adams had been saying about NBC's Olympics coverage, his tweets included:
"America's left coast forced to watch Olympic ceremony on SIX HOUR time delay. Disgusting money-grabbing by @NBColympics."
Meanwhile, as the Los Angeles Times points out: "Twitter and NBC are partners, and friends tend to watch each others' backs. So if you have been criticizing NBC and plan to continue doing so, it may be best to make sure you aren't violating Twitter's policies — you don't want to find your account down the next time you try to log on."
Much more coverage of the Olympics is on our sister blog, The Torch.