NBC pressures Twitter to shutter account of journalist critical of Olympics coverage

As criticism over NBC's coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London grows, the network now finds itself at the center of a controversy surrounding its apparent involvement in the suspension of the Twitter account of an American journalist.

Guy Adams, the Independent's Los Angeles bureau chief, has been extremely critical of NBC's coverage of the games. In a series of tweets, Adams takes on NBC's decision to run almost no major event live, and Matt Lauer's sometimes inane banter during the Opening Ceremony coverage. Adams even went so far as to criticize NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel.

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But there's one tweet that apparently ticked off executives at Comcast-NBC enough for them to seek out Twitter to silence Adams, and here it is:

guyadams Guy Adams
The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven't started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: [email protected]

Adams' decision to publish Zenkel's e-mail is apparently what caused NBC to complain directly to Twitter, and successfully have Adams muzzled. "We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives", a spokesperson for NBC Sports says in a statement.

So far, Twitter has not responded to BetaNews' requests to confirm that the network's complaint is behind their decision. That said, in a Monday piece for The Independent, Adams reports that Twitter support representatives told him that the aforementioned tweet is why his account is suspended.

"Since I’m still trying to get to bottom of the hows and whys of my suspension, which conceivably raises various ethical issues relevant to journalism in the online era, it seems premature to comment further", Adams writes. "Except, perhaps to say that I do not wish Mr Zenkel any harm, and to share a transcript of my most recent email to Rachel Bremer, Twitter's head of European PR".

In that e-mail, Adams tells Bremer that no rule was broken as Zenkel's e-mail is not private. Adams is right: a simple search for the executive's e-mail address will turn that information up (even after you take out all the results from the dozens of news outlets now covering this story, which are also republishing Zenkel's address).

There's another problem: Twitter really isn't following its own rules. The policy against the sharing of certain information on Twitter only covers "non-public, personal e-mail addresses". Zenkel's address is already public, and it is a corporate e-mail for a public company.

Under a strict reading of this policy, Adams has violated none of Twitter's rules, and his suspension sounds more like a move to appease an advertiser. As a story last week in the Wall Street Journal indicated, the two companies are working together to "tweet" the Olympics, with a full-on Olympics Hub to centralize coverage of the games.

17 Responses to NBC pressures Twitter to shutter account of journalist critical of Olympics coverage

  1. MyLogic says:

    Interesting.  If this proves true, what can actually be said about it?

    Twitter got nervous?  Better safe than sorry when dealing with big executives representing big corporations?  

    In the end, someone will probably say someone else jumped the gun without checking.

    • rebradley says:

       True @betanews-d3036eaa59b31dade3e8ef4916a3e821:disqus but Twitter is losing my respect every time they pull this BS.

  2. ir0nw0lf says:

    It's all about the Benjamins.  Last paragraph of the above article sums it up exactly IMHO:  "his suspension sounds more like a move to appease an advertiser."

  3. psycros says:

    Yet more proof that social networking is hardly the instrument of global freedom so many make it out to be.

    • TroyGates says:

       Twitter is not a non-for-profit organization. They are like any other company, to make money. If it was government run then you might have something.

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  5. rebradley says:

    Sad that you'd get banned for the truth. Especially since he wasn't obscene or insulted anyone's mother which some on Betanews do. NBC/Universal has a culture on all their channels that is beyond logic or reason. Their motivations certainly aren't good/quality programing. In fact I don't want to say here what I think their motivations are because it's more sensitive than the Apple debates. Regardless, I find it hard to watch their stuff, simply because of the poor quality, unexplainable cancellations and new show selection. So it's hard to cutback on what I don't watch but NBC is not about to win me back.

  6. woe says:

    Twatter = Digital Diarrhea of the Mouth.  It is where Facebook losers that are ignored go to get their Digital Narcissism fix.

    Someone please explain how twatter makes money???

    Imagine the millions of wasted hours spent on twatter!!

  7. sst says:

    Apparently NBC does not want to hear how bad their coverage is.  Their broadcast is dominated by the American Anthem, and the commentators applauding each other.

    What may seem team neutral, on iptv is Flash video, and "managed" by deltatre.com.
    The framerate of two per second, for basketball, is only good to update the scores.
    Seeking to look up team members by country states there are no team members.
    And, how do I get rid of the Dark Knight ad covering the selection box.
    Finally, I believe NBC after the previous games, bid to prevent anyone from showing that a descent job can be done - of actually covering the games and atheletes.

  8. ken slattery says:

    I've been trying to make a comment on NBC's home page,havent been successful yet.
    Theres aproxamatl 32 ,sports and at the most the're covering 10,and with 25 min or so commercials,why woud you be that bored

  9. ken slattery says:

    Hey ,Let's get away from that subject, to mayors and gov ,telling Cick Fillet they cant come into thier city because the owner opposess gay marriage because of thier beliefs
     I thought thats what our goverment was based on,freedom of speach,(politcal corectness has killed that),freedom of religion,(trying awful hard to kill that) well now we have strong gov crushing a good man and his business,because of his religous beliefs.
     The reason I brought this up,is I saw the name Adams,Im from his home city,and Im sure Jeferson and at that time ,Mr.Adams  is not what our foundindg fathers wanted.

  10. ken says:

    what terrible olympics coverage. nbc stars are not shining, like they hoped. 

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