The Olympics

NBC Sports Says Twitter Narced on Journalist’s Anti-Olympic Tweets [UPDATED]

Where's that stickin-it-to-the-man attitude now?
 NBC Sports Says Twitter Narced on Journalists Anti Olympic Tweets [UPDATED]

Not to stereotype or anything. (Photo: flickr.com/s_w_ellis/)

This Olympics flap just got a little more embarrassing for Twitter.

For those just tuning in: Yesterday, after tweeting numerous complaints about the quality of NBC’s coverage of the London Olympics, journalist Guy Adams was suspended from Twitter. The official reason given? Mr. Adams had revealed the email of an NBC exec and that it was a terms of service violation to publish “the private and confidential information of others.” So once NBC complained, Twitter suspended his account.

That narrative looked a little suspect in light of the big, splashy partnership Twitter and NBC formed to integrate 140-character updates into the media monolith’s broadcasts from London.

But a new twist reflects poorly on Twitter. The Telegraph reports that, in an email,

Christopher McCloskey, NBC Sport’s vice-president of communications, said Twitter had actually contacted the network’s social media department to alert them to Mr Adams’s tweets.

“Our social media dept was actually alerted to it by Twitter and then we filled out the form and submitted it,” he wrote.

When the Telegraph responded with a request for more detail–radio silence from Twitter and NBC.

Betabeat reached out to the NBC spokesperson quoted in the Telegraph, but received only the canned official 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.”

But now that we’re taking another look at that statement, well, it doesn’t exactly say that NBC found the offending tweet, now does it?

Twitter recently earned a lot of good will for its refusal to cooperate with the prosecution of an Occupy Wall Street protestor, instead fighting law enforcement requests for user information. However, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t cost the company that much to stand up to the DA’s office. But letting a major media partner be embarrassed, in the middle of a high-profile event where NBC has integrated Twitter into much of its on-air coverage? Now, that’s a different story.

We’ve reached out to Twitter for comment and will update if we hear more.

UPDATED: Mr. Adams’ account has been reinstated. He says (on Twitter) that he’s just received an email stating, “we have just received an update from the complainant retracting their original request…”

UPDATED II: The Wall Street Journal‘s Christopher Stewart has NBC’s statement (in two parts) on the rescinding of their complaint: “Our interest was in protecting our executive, not suspending the user from Twitter…We didn’t initially understand the repercussions of our complaint, but now that we do, we have rescinded it.”

We’re not sure who did the pushing or the jumping or what, but somehow everyone ended up under the bus on this one.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com