Saturday, September 23, 2023


July 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Twitter has apologized to British journalist Guy Adams for suspending his account and has reinstated it. Its general counsel, Alex Macgillivray, said that the Twitter team working with NBC on the Olympics had engaged in unacceptable behavior when it alerted NBC staffers to Adams’s tweets critical of NBC’s Olympics coverage and urged them to report them as a rules violation to Twitter’s Trust and Safety team. That conduct, said Macgillivray, “undermines the trust our users have in us.” He added, “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.”

Guy Adams, the Los Angeles bureau chief of the London Independent
(circulation 318,000,) has had his Twitter account suspended after posting numerous tweets protesting against NBC’s policy of delaying its coverage of key Olympic events until primetime. In one of his tweets, he included the email address of the NBC executive who imposed that policy. NBC, which is partnered with Twitter in its Olympics coverage, complained that posting the email address of NBC Olympics exec Gary Zenkel violated “Twitter’s rules governing posting private information, including that of ‘non-public, personal email addresses.'” In response, Adams wrote, “I didn’t publish a private email address, just a corporate one, which is widely available to anyone with access to Google and is identical to [the email form — first and last names separated by a period plus] that all of the tens of thousands of NBC Universal employees share. It’s no more ‘private’ than the address I’m emailing you from right now.” (Several writers noted that while it would have been difficult finding Zenkel’s email address via a Google search prior to Adams’s suspension, Google now brings up tens of thousands of mentions of the address following the incident. The address was also reposted on thousands of other Twitter feeds) Adams told Bloomberg News that he would have removed the tweet had NBC or Twitter asked him to do so. “If it’s standard practice to be immediately suspended after someone complains, it’s a dangerous policy,” he remarked. “I’m surprised because I always thought Twitter was a company dedicated to the flow of information.” An even stronger point was made by Dan Gillmor, a columnist for the Independent‘s rival, the Guardian. As a result of Twitter’s action, he wrote, Adams and his newspaper “have lost — temporarily, one hopes — an important method of bringing people to the journalism they produce about the biggest London event in a long time.” Twitter has declined to discuss the matter, citing its privacy rules.