William K. Wolfrum's picture

    NBC has Twitter suspend journalist critical of Olympics coverage - I'm out

    I have been a big fan and user at Twitter for some time and feel it is a social media tool with incredible potential. That said, I’m out. Because of this:

    Guy Adams is The Independent‘s Los Angeles bureau chief. During the Olympics so far, he has carved out a nice spot on the how-much-NBC’s-coverage-sucks beat. Now his Twitter account has been suspended—supposedly because NBC had it cut off after he complained.

    Twitter’s reasoning or suspending Adams’ account is because he tweeted the corporate (and publicly available) e-mail address of NBC exec Gary Zenkel. Here is NBC’s statement:

    We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives. According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline.

    I am very shy about being involved with large corporations and I feel Twitter has allowed a massive corporation to shut up a critic. A corporate e-mail address is not “personal information” that demands privacy.

    So, I am taking an indefinite leave of absence from Twitter. While I appreciate the support of my followers there, I don’t feel at all comfortable with this situation and am not interested in supporting Twitter in any way after they so blithely suspended a journalist. This is what a slippery slope looks like, and it is not something I want to be a part of.

    Here is Adams’ take on the situation thus far.

    Update: Twitter is partnered with NBC for the Olympics. Apparently they were the ones who initiated contact with NBC about Adams and how to get his account suspended.


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles



    I somewhat disagree.

    Getting your work email slashdotted is a royal pain in the arse.

    Even though I often figure out standard business email adresses to mail unknowns (last name + 1st initial @ company.com)

    The difference being, I'm not 5,000 irritated people.

    So basically, cause Mr. Reporter there felt he had a bone to pick, he did roughly a Denial of Service on the NBC guy's work portal.

    Many people don't distinguish between their home & work emails, home & work phones. There's public social media like Twitter where making contact with unknowns is more orderly - that's one of the reasons people like it, vs. total spam on email.

    I totally disagree with you.

    Sure, it's "a royal pain in the arse." But if you're the well-paid head of a multibillion-dollar operation -- and you screw it up -- suck it up! Both these institutions are MEDIA companies, and their immediate reaction to criticism is to shut down their critics.

    As they have just learned (see below) the outrage over suspending Adams's account was many times the 5,000 e-mails they were initially annoyed by. Exactly as it should be. Hit them in the bottom line!

    And by the way, what the hell is this?: "Many people don't distinguish between their home & work emails, home & work phones."

    Those people are wrong. If Adams had posted the guy's home address or phone number, I'd consider that an invasion of privacy. Not this.

    And "denial of service?" I doubt any servers crashed. Though after they got the reporter suspended, I'm sure their phone lines lit up.

    Twitter has a partnership with NBC. Twitter let MBC know that the reporter had criticized the network. Twitter told NBC how to go about getting the reporrter's account suspended. Twitter issued no warning prior to suspending the account.

    NBC never alleged a DNS account. I doubt that the NBC exec actually saw 5K emails in his inbox since NBC had to be made aware of the reporter's comments. This was a total over-reaction by two corporations.

    NBC coverage is bad, they did a "Today Show" promo detailing what a 17 year old swimmer would watch after wining a gold medal 6 minutes prior to actually showing the swimming event. Many people had avoided the net and other news sources so that they could be surprised when they saw the event. NBC spoiled the event for some viewers.

    maybe it's just a case of the truth hurts. Ryan Seacrest interviewing Phelps was more important than a 7/7 tribute?

    I read about this yesterday Wolfy and wonder WTF? I mean I don't spend tons of time on twitter, but when I do it's fun and there are always great links to follow. I don't know what to say about this, b/c NBC's coverage has been horrendous. They turned the opening night into a political football, so much so after that night I just stream BBC coverage.

    Sigh... I'll miss you for a while, but I think twitter will have to bend. (I hope).

    NBC and Twitter have blinked:


    I'm pretty sure they'll keep blinking for quite some time.

    Here's Twitter groveling, and NBC whining that "Gee, we didn't realize our complaint would get the guy suspended." Yeah, right.

    On the positive side, Adams now has many thousands of new followers:


    I'm glad to see the apology. I'm quite shocked that they even let it drag out as they did. Did they not understand their own platform & users? But, at least they finally figured it out.

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