Twitter has not had a great 48 hours. After spending years developing a reputation as an especially open and free-speech-friendly platform, suddenly the company looks an enthusiastic handmaiden to corporate interests. And so it’s none too surprising to see a lengthy exegesis of corporate policy, complete with apology, appear on the official blog.
Of course, the company had little choice after NBC ratted out them out to the Telegraph, revealing that Twitter had contacted NBC and suggested they file a complaint regarding the gadfly journalist Guy Adams, who’d been lambasting the network’s Olympics coverage, including posting the email address of an NBC Sports exec. That complaint, of course, resulted in Mr. Adams’ suspension from Twitter, thereby quieting his nonstop complaints but unleashing a torrent of Internet fury.
Twitter’s tardy response, authored by general counsel Alex McGillivray, explains that, “The Trust and Safety team does not actively monitor users’ content,” adding:
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.
Eye of the Tiger
The first “Twitter Olympics” start Friday. And how is that going, so far? Let’s just say the games are off to a rocky start, and we’re popping popcorn in anticipation.
As we’ve mentioned before, the International Olympic Committe rolled into town with a long list of social media rules for athletes, volunteers and anyone with a press pass. The document concluded with a warning: “The IOC will continue to monitor Olympic on-line content to ensure that the integrity of rights-holding broadcasters and sponsor rights as well as the Olympic Charter is maintained.”
So how’s that going? Well, it’s not even day one and already an Olympian has been booted from the games for offensive tweets, athletes’ complaints are going viral, and organizers are begging participants not to tweet about and therefore spoil the opening ceremony.