Twitter ban on journo who slated NBC at Games: the plot thickens
New claim suggests reporter was banned to protect Twitter's relationship with US broadcaster
THE INTRIGUING case of Guy Adams, the journalist banned from Twitter after sending critical tweets about NBC's coverage of the Olympics, has taken another twist. It is now claimed that Twitter itself prodded NBC into seeking the ban because the microblogging site wanted to protect its commercial relationship with the broadcaster.
Adams, a foreign correspondent for The Independent, had his Twitter account blocked after he tweeted a series of negative messages about the US broadcaster's coverage of the Games, accompanied by the hashtag #NBCfail.
He was angry because NBC chose not to show live coverage of the opening ceremony, nor Saturday's swimming showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, nor the USA basketball team in action against France. Instead events were shown 'as live' several hours later.
In one message Adams told people who were unhappy about NBC's policy to email company executive Gary Zenkel, and included Zenkel's email address. That led to Adams's suspension from the site, apparently for including "private" information.
Afterwards Adams insisted that he had done nothing wrong: "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."
Now The Daily Telegraph claims that it was Twitter who alerted NBC to the tweet. It says an NBC spokesman said: "Our social media dept was actually alerted to it by Twitter and then we filled out the [complaint] form and submitted it."
Twitter entered into a partnership with NBC before the Olympics to be the "official narrator" of the Games, prompting the Telegraph to comment:
"Twitter instigating a ban against a journalist who has been critical about one of their commercial partners is likely to raise questions as to the neutrality of the microblogging site and further anger those opposed to Mr Adams's suspension."
Writing in The Independent today, Adams said: "I'd be fascinated to hear how Twitter explain or justify this."
For the New Statesman, Alex Hern blogged: "The question Twitter has to answer... isn't the narrow one about public versus private email addresses, but the broader one about how it plans to treat its commercial partners."
Hern notes that Twitter has also cut its ties with photo-sharing service Instagram, recently purchased by Facebook. Last month users of professional networking site LinkedIn also lost the ability to link to their Twitter accounts.
The row has erupted just days after it was claimed Twitter had promised to hand over details of one of its users to Northcliffe Media, owners of the Daily Mail. The newspaper group has filed court papers against a user who runs a parody account of Mail executive Steve Auckland, accusing him of email hacking, impersonation and defamation.
The user has denied all the allegations but says Twitter has told him it will give up his details by Wednesday.