Twitter suspends reporter's account for NBC tweet

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:43pm EDT

A Twitter page is displayed on a laptop computer in Los Angeles October 13, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A Twitter page is displayed on a laptop computer in Los Angeles October 13, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Twitter Inc and NBC Universal's move to suppress a British reporter's tweets related to the network's Olympics coverage may have backfired after the incident became fodder for Twitter chatter around the world on Monday.

The microblogging service suspended Guy Adams, the Los Angeles correspondent for London-based daily The Independent, after he sent a tweet on Friday revealing NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel's email address.

Adams was among a number of Twitter users in the United States who vented their frustration with NBC, a Comcast Corp subsidiary, for showing the London Olympics' opening ceremony on tape delay to coincide with evening prime-time in the United States.

"The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven't started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email:," Adams tweeted.

As part of his suspension, Adams' account and his tweets were rendered invisible. But in a twist of irony, the incident went viral on Monday, as "Guy Adams" became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.

In an email to Adams, Twitter informed the reporter that he had violated "Twitter Rules" by posting another user's private information such as "private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents."

NBC confirmed that it had filed a complaint with Twitter.

"A user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives," NBC Sports said. "According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline."

Adams, who estimated that he has about 4,500 Twitter followers, had been one of the more vocal critics of NBC's coverage. The Monday issue of The Independent carried an article by Adams that was broadly critical of NBC's Olympics coverage, including its commentary of the opening ceremonies, but made no mention of the Twitter incident.

"It's obviously somewhat sinister for a Twitter account to be shut down at the behest of an Olympic sponsor," Adams told Reuters on Monday.

Twitter, which entered into a strategic, non-financial partnership with NBC to curate online content during the Olympics, declined to comment.

(Editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Richard Chang)

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Comments (6)
introgression wrote:
While I completely agree that the non-live broadcast of the opening ceremonies and the coverage itself was HORRIBLE; I’m going to have to agree with the response taken by twitter here. If I were the one who made a controlling decision to not participate in a worldwide event along with the rest of the world I wouldn’t want my email address known. However, I may want to know if Virgin Galactic is taking any one-way reservation.

Jul 30, 2012 4:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
NYmom wrote:
What everyone seems to be missing here is that the email address that Guy Adams tweeted was NOT Zenkel’s personal email address — it was his work address, which is very easy to discern on your own. Simply go to the NBC Universal website, check out their email addressing conventions in the “contact us” section, look up the exec in charge of Sports Programming and, voila: You might have to experiment a bit — Is there a period between first and last names (many corps. follow this convention)? Is it first initial and last name? etc. But ultimately, it’s his place of work — just the same as sending a snail mail to NBC Universal HQ addressed to Gary Zenkel.

Jul 30, 2012 4:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Texrat wrote:
Twitter was in the wrong. The email is corporate, not personal. In addition, they actually have no rule forbidding what Guy Adams did.

Jul 30, 2012 5:18pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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