#NBCFail: NBC blames Twitter for complaint that led to journalist Guy Adams having Twitter account suspended after complaining about London 2012 Olympics coverage

Following his suspension yesterday from the micro-blogging site Twitter, Independent journalist Guy Adams writes with an update

Guy Adams
Tuesday 31 July 2012 16:00
Comments
The Olympics Opening Ceremony
The Olympics Opening Ceremony

There is still no end in sight to my “suspension” from Twitter, which shut down my account after I published a message critical of Gary Zenkel, the NBC executive in charge of the network’s awful coverage of the Olympics.

The site claims I broke its rules because I included Zenkel’s work email address in a Tweet posted on Friday, when America had been forced to watch the opening ceremony on time-delay.

“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven't started yet is Gary Zenkel,” it read. “Tell him what u think!”

Plenty of people disagree that I broke said rules. And many have also pointed out that Twitter’s actions seem a bit rum... because the popular, but currently-not-very-lucrative site just so happens to be in a commercial relationship with NBC.

This evening, an ominous development: according to an NBC spokesman called Christopher McCloskey, it was the micro-blogging site – and not NBC – that was responsible for initiating the complaint that lead to my suspension in the first place.

I’d be fascinated to hear how Twitter explain or justify this.

In the meantime, I’d also quite like to get back on Twitter.

The site’s “trust and safety” department has contacted me to explain how this can happen.

“If you would like to request your account to be restored, please respond to this email and confirm that you've read and understood our rules,” reads their message.

My response is cut-and-pasted below, in full.

Evening

And sorry for the radio silence. For obvious reasons, my day has been a wee bit busier than normal.

I would love my Twitter account to be un-suspended.

However you have asked me to "confirm that I have read and understood" your rules.

I've read, and I have re-read your rules. Clearly I don't understand them, though, because I have no idea how I broke them.

You claim that I posted a "private email address."

I did no such thing. I posted a corporate email address, not a private one.

It was, like the work address of every other NBC Universal account holder, written in a very un-private format: firstname.lastname@nbcuni.com.

Moreover, it was already easily identifiable to anyone in possession of 30 seconds of free time and access to Google. For example, it had been published online over a year ago, at the link below

http://www.fidei.org/2011/06/boycott-nbc-removed-under-god-from.html

You will, I am sure, be aware that your own privacy policy, which you have urged me to read, states that "If information was previously posted or displayed elsewhere on the Internet prior to being put on Twitter, it is not a violation of this policy."

Mr Zenkel's email address HAD been posted on the internet prior to being put on Twitter, Therefore can you explain how my Tweet violated your policy? Or are you making this up as you go along?

Moreover, I just recieved a copy of a written statement from an NBC spokesman called Christopher McCloskey. It was issued via email this evening to Amy Willis, a correspondent at the Daily Telegraph, in answer to her query regarding how NBC's complaint came to be lodged with Twitter, and how NBC originally became aware of my original Tweet.

Mr McCloskey states (and I quote): "Our social media dept was actually alerted to it by Twitter and then we filled out the form and submitted it."

Unless he is lying, this means that my account was suspended after Twitter decided, at its own behest, to get in touch with a commercial partner in order to encourage them to have a hostile journalist removed from the Twitter-sphere.

Surely this runs against everything your company is supposed to represent? And surely it completely undermines Twitter's entire raison d'etre, corporate ethos, etc?

Mr McCloskey's email to Ms Willia also, helpfully, includes contact details for a Twitter spokesman, Rachael Horwitz. Am I to take it that this means NBC and Twitter's media departments are in some sort cahoots regarding this whole thing? And if so, does this whole thing not have a whiff of fish?

I don't know exactly where I'm meant to go from here, except to say that I really would like a proper explanation of how and why my Twitter account has been suspended.

And I'd also quite like to have it un-suspended. Please?

Guy

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