Time to check in on the Twitter-lympics! How are the first social media games going? About like we expected. Well, we’re not sure who’s pulling ahead in the athletic arena, but looks like we’ve already got an instance of outstanding PR clusterfuck. Someone’s gonna end up with a headache over this one.
Deadspin reports that Guy Adams, a reporter for the Independent, has spent the last couple of days complaining about NBC’s allegedly less-than-stellar coverage of the Olympic games (we wouldn’t know, as we studiously ignore summer athletics). The tweets at issue are here, including such zingers as quoting anchor Matt Lauer’s less impressive attempts to fill airtime (“Madagascar, a location indelibly associated with a couple of recent animated movies”) and deeming him a #tosspot. Burn, ya’ll.
Well, sometime over the last day, Mr. Adams’ account disappeared. That left his fellow reporters to take to Twitter in restrained outrage, pointing out that the timing is awfully convenient for an embarrassed NBC looking for avoid any more allegations of fail:
— Kevin Rawlinson (@KevinJRawlinson) July 30, 2012
There’s now a #saveguyadams hashtag, naturally.
However, Twitter’s position seems to be that the suspension isn’t about his criticism, but rather about the fact that Mr. Adams stepped over the line by moving beyond fomenting mass outrage about NBC’s allegedly abysmal coverage (we wouldn’t know, as we don’t care for athletics) to posting the email address of NBC exec Gary Zenkel. From an email exchange with Twitter’s customer support, forwarded to Deadspin:
Your account has been suspended for posting an individual’s private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents.
It is a violation of the Twitter Rules to post the private and confidential information of others.
Well, aggravated customer feedback is a grand American tradition, no? If not, someone should tell the Observer‘s managing editor that he’s no longer required to listen patiently to the occasional outraged little old lady. And we’re frankly skeptical that an NBC Universal address really counts as “non-public, personal email addresses.” For example, with a little bit of googling, we found it here.
UPDATE: Mr. Adams has posted his account of the events in question at the Independent. There’s little new, but it’s worth pulling out this point, from his remarks emailed to Twitter’s head of European PR:
“Either way, [it's] quite worrying that NBC, whose parent company are an Olympic sponsor, are apparently trying (and, in this case, succeeding) in shutting down the Twitter accounts of journalists who are critical of their Olympic coverage.”
UPDATE II: The New York Times has NBC’s statement confirming that yes, they complained:
Twitter tells us they don’t comment on individual users, for privacy reasons.
At any rate: