Friday 20 April 2018

Twitter 'alerted NBC to British journalist's critical tweets'

Gary Zenkel and Matt Lauer, who is one of the faces of NBC's coverage of the London 2012 Olympics
Gary Zenkel and Matt Lauer, who is one of the faces of NBC's coverage of the London 2012 Olympics

Amy Willis in Los Angeles

TWITTER employees alerted NBC staff to a British journalist’s tweets and showed them how to file a complaint against him, the television network has revealed.

Users of the social network vented their anger against Twitter yesterday after Guy Adams, a foreign correspondent for the Independent, was suspended without warning from the site after posting a series of critical tweets about NBC’s coverage of the Olympics.

One of the tweets urged his followers to send their views to Gary Zenkel, the president of NBC Olympics. Mr Adams subsequently published Mr Zenkel’s corporate email address and a complaint was filed by NBC to the social networking site.

But in an email to The Daily Telegraph, Christopher McCloskey, NBC’s vice-president of communications, said Twitter had contacted the network’s social media department to alert them to Mr Adam’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.

An email asking for further detail and whether this was normal Twitter policy was not returned from NBC or Twitter.

Twitter and NBC entered into a partnership to cover to Olympic Games this month, with the technology company featuring highlighted tweets from sports insiders in return for on-air promotions. No money was exchanged in the deal, according to reports.

Twitter instigating a ban against a journalist who has been critical about one of their commercial partners is likely to raise questions as to the neutrality of the microblogging site and further anger those opposed to Mr Adams’s suspension.

Responding to NBC's claims that Twitter informed them of his negative tweets, Mr Adams said it runs contrary to the microblogging site's corporate values.

"If what NBC is saying is true, it undermines everything that Twitter stands for and is an absolute disgrace and will aggravate many millions of its users," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"Their whole corporate ethos is that they never interfere with the flow of tweets. Something has gone very very wrong here.”

Mr Adams has been told that if he would like his access reinstated he must write an apology and acknowledge that he had broken their rules – something some pundits have disputed given that he posted a widely accessible corporate email address.

“I don’t understand their rules, I haven’t done anything wrong and I think it sets a very ugly precedent for me to promise not to do it again," he said.

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