Twitter has come under fire for identifying British journalist Guy Adams to NBC and allegedly suggesting a complaint be filed against him for tweets critical of the network's Olympics coverage. When NBC followed its suggestions, Twitter suspended Adams' account.
NBC Sports vice president of communications Christopher McCloskey indicated to the Daily Telegraph in a Tuesday report that it was Twitter's idea from the start to target Adams.
"Our social media (department) was actually alerted to it by Twitter and then we filled out the form and submitted it," McCloskey wrote, according to the Telegraph. When asked to explain further, neither NBC nor Twitter responded to the publication's requests.
Adams, the Los Angeles bureau chief for London-based The Independent, has been so critical of the network's coverage of the Olympics that he has been identified by some as "NBC's No. 1 Tweeting Critic." In addition to making his own complaints, Adams invited followers on Twitter to pen a letter to NBC executives to complain about the network's coverage of 2012 Summer Games in London.
The British journalist apparently crossed the line when he tweeted the corporate email address of NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel, a violation of Twitter's policy against user's publishing others' "private and confidential information."
Some have claimed that Zenkel's email address is not difficult to find online, and that a business email address does not count as "personal." As DeadSpin's JohnKoblin suggests: "A business account by definition is not personal and considering NBC's email format is extremely easy to locate, it is most definitely not private." Others, such as Search Engine Land, have apparently disproved such claims.
Many in the media have questioned Twitter's apparent tactics in allegedly targeting Adams. It has been pointed out that the social network, headed by CEO Dick Costolo, entered a partnership with Comcast Corporation-owned NBC Universal especially for Olympics coverage. The Wall Street Journal reported on the partnership as a much-needed opportunity for Twitter to expand beyond its 140 million monthly users and "cement its status."
Guy Adams told the Daily Telegraph that if NBC's claims prove true, "it undermines everything that Twitter stands for and is an absolute disgrace and will aggravate many millions of its users."
The Telegraph revealed that Adams had been informed that if he desired to have his account re-instated that he should pen a letter of apology for violating the social network's guidelines. However, Adams remains unrepentant.
"I don't understand their rules, I haven't done anything wrong and I think it sets a very ugly precedent for me to promise not to do it again," the journalist said.
DeadSpin.com had several of Adams' tweets still accessible online, showing how The Independent L.A. bureau chief occasionally called NBC executives "bastards" for "pretending" the Olympics coverage was live and mocked Bob Costas' commentary, among other things.