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: Gary.firstname.lastname@example.org,” 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.
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