Update, July 31, 3:00 pm EST:Looks like Twitter has given reporter Guy Adam his @guyadams Twitter account back, as TechCrunch reports. As Adams tweeted:
Twitter emails to tell me: “we have just received an update from the complainant retracting their original request…Therefore your account has been unsuspended
Oh. My Twitter account appears to have been un-suspended. Did I miss much while I was away?
The burning question of course is: Did NBC back down and retract its complaint about Adams, who wrote in the Independent thatwasn’t such censorship supposed to be over in the age of the internet?
“Supposed to be,” that is.
Twitter has suspended the account of Guy Adams, the Los Angeles correspondent for the British newspaper the Independent on the grounds that he posted the “personal information” — the corporate email address — of Gary Zenkel, President of the NBC Olympics. The Independent‘s deputy editor, Archie Bland, has confirmed the suspension, which he describes as “heavy-handed.”
Twitter and NBC have partnered to cover the Olympic Games; along with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Twitter has been promoting the use of the microblogging site to “engage with athletes, competitions and London 2012.” The suspension of Adams’ account smacks of censorship as he had been heavily critical of NBC’s coverage from the start, due to the network’s decision to broadcast the Opening Ceremony six hours after the fact:
“America’s left coast forced to watch Olympic ceremony on SIX HOUR time delay. Disgusting money-grabbing by @NBColympics http://t.co/bQxKCCdj.
Adams also criticized NBC on the Independent, in an article entitled As America succeeds at the Games, back home all the talk is about #NBCfail in which he wrote that the network’s delaying of live broadcasts in keeping with advertisers’ wishes had stoked “ridicule from TV critics and outrage from the US public.” Adams also pointed out more than a few displays of ignorance and insensitivity made by NBC staff including Bob Costas (who joked about Idi Amin when Uganda’s team appeared), as well as attempts by commentators to pretend that events taped hours before were being broadcast live.
Today, Adams reported about the suspension of his own Twitter account in another Independent article, #NBCFail: Journalist at The Independent has Twitter account suspended after complaining about NBC’s coverage of London 2012 Olympics. Adams quoted from an email he sent to Rachel Bremer, Twitter’s head of European PR:
“I’m of course happy to abide by Twitter’s rules, now and forever,. But I don’t see how I broke them in this case: I didn’t publish a private email address. Just a corporate one, which is widely available to anyone with access to Google, and is identical [in form] to one that all of the tens of thousands of NBC Universal employees share. It’s no more “private” than the address I’m emailing you from right now. Either way, [it's] quite worrying that NBC, whose parent company are an Olympic sponsor, are apparently trying (and, in this case, succeeding) in shutting down the Twitter accounts of journalists who are critical of their Olympic coverage.”
The Guy Adams Twitter ban is not the only headache for the microblogging service at the Olympics. Having teamed with the IOC to encourage people to use Twitter at the Games, Twitter has then asked people to limit their output to only “urgent” status updates. Apparently so many tweets were being posted that the mobile network used by official TV data suppliers including T-Mobile, Orange and Vodafone was clogged.
Without Twitter, Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou and Swiss soccer player Michel Monagella would probably not have been expelled from the games. Both posted racist tweets that led to them being banned.
Thanks to Twitter, disturbing racist attitudes have been exposed and a major American broadcaster has found itself the target of criticism for trying, it seems, to get away with delaying live coverage of a global athletic event.
Like it or not, Twitter may have just become the unintended, and unwilling, star of the 2012 Olympics.
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