Current Magazine

Twitter Suspends Account of British Journalist Critical of NBC’s Olympic Coverage

Posted on the 31 July 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Twitter suspends Guy Adams Twitter in ‘censorship’ row

The background

Twitter has suspended the account of a British journalist who was heavily critical of NBC’s Olympics coverage, leading many commentators to conclude the social networking site has scored a spectacular own goal.

Guy Adams, Los Angeles Bureau chief for The Independent, took to Twitter to criticize the US broadcaster for presenting pre-recorded events as live and for apparently trivial commentary. After Adams published the email address of a network executive and urged viewers to send in their complaints, NBC complained to Twitter and the account was suspended.

What has particularly raised eyebrows among the commentariat is the fact that Twitter recently partnered with NBC as the “official narrator” of London 2012.

Guy Adams: I did not break Twitter guidelines

According to Adams, Twitter suspended his account for breaching guidelines by publishing the “private” email address of executive Gary Zenkel. “But I did not Tweet a private email address. I Tweeted a corporate address for Mr Zenkel, which is widely listed online, and is identical in form to that of tens of thousands of those at NBC,” Adams wrote in The Independent. Adams argued that the “internet era” was supposed to end censorship: “NBC’s successful attempt to suspend a journalist from a social networking site sets an ugly precedent.”

What did Adams say?

Adams’ tweets have disappeared from the social networking site, but The Independent published a selection that had been preserved on Topsy.

@guyadams Guy Adams

Am I alone in wondering why NBColympics think its acceptable to pretend this road race is being broadcast live?

3 days ago

@guyadams Guy Adams

According to NBC’s commentary team, the Surrey countryside is full of “chateaus” #ffs!

@guyadams Guy Adams

Matt Lauer: “Madagascar, a location indelibly associated with a couple of recent animated movies.” #tosspot

Twitter can suspend account, question is why

“Twitter is perfectly within its rights to suspend Adams pending investigation, and as the debate shows, the case is unclear enough that it could be a genuine belief that the tweet breaks the terms of service,” wrote Alex Hern at The New Statesman. What makes this case more complicated is the NBC Olympics partnership: “The question Twitter has to answer is whether they acted differently in the case of Zenkler/Adams because of this partnership.”

‘Defining moment’ for Twitter

Twitter needs to reinstate Adams’ account, wrote Dan Gillmore at The Guardian’s Comment is Free; “if not, this is a defining moment for Twitter. It will have demonstrated that it can be bullied by its business partners into acts that damage its credibility and ultimately the reason so many of us use it as a platform.”

More on the Olympics

  • How Twitter is changing the Games
  • Britons finally enjoying Olympics?
  • ‘Ugliest’ Olympics ever?
  • Six Olympic sports best played by cats

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

Paperblog Hot Topics