NBC’s No. 1 Tweeting Critic Has Been Suspended From Twitter


NBC’s No. 1 Tweeting Critic Has Been Suspended From Twitter

Must the tweets flow? NBC case
Independent journalist: ‘Awaiting detailed explanation’ on account suspension

Guy Adams is The Independent‘s Los Angeles bureau chief. During the Olympics so far, he has carved out a nice spot on the how-much-NBC’s-coverage-sucks beat. Now his Twitter account has been suspended—supposedly because NBC had it cut off after he complained:

What exactly did Adams have to say? Plenty. Here’s a look at some of his tweets, all of which are now hidden, but have been preserved on Topsy:

guyadams Guy Adams
Am I alone in wondering why NBColympics think its acceptable to pretend this road race is being broadcast live?
3 days ago
guyadams Guy Adams
According to NBC’s commentary team, the Surrey countryside is full of “chateaus” #ffs!
guyadams Guy Adams
Matt Lauer: “Madagascar, a location indelibly associated with a couple of recent animated movies.” #tosspot
guyadams Guy Adams
Matt Lauer would do well to shut up, wouldn’t he?
3 days ago
guyadams Guy Adams
Techcrunch call @NBColympics total buffoons http://t.co/1DYypK0T Sums up why Gary Zenkel, moronic exec behind the time delay, shd be fired
guyadams Guy Adams
If only someone had invented a technology to help us actually see this. Oh, wait… MT @NBCOlympics: Muhammad Ali is one of the flag bearers
guyadams Guy Adams
“Sneak peak” my arse MT @NBCOlympics: Check out this sneak peek of tonight’s #OpeningCeremony http://t.co/vf7KKMf9
3 days ago
guyadams Guy Adams
Say “up yours” to @nbcolympics and watch that opening ceremony here MT @edfcarrasco: we got what the people want: http://t.co/IB5epHmx
3 days ago
guyadams Guy Adams
America’s left coast forced to watch Olympic ceremony on SIX HOUR time delay. Disgusting money-grabbing by @NBColympics http://t.co/bQxKCCdj
4 days ago
guyadams Guy Adams
I have 1000 channels on my TV. Not one will be showing the Olympics opening ceremony live. Because NBC are utter, utter bastards.
4 days ago
guyadams Guy Adams
The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com

A Twitter support staffer informed him that it was the last Tweet that did Adams in—for “posting an individual’s private information.” The address he posted was Zenkel’s corporate address, which can easily be figured out by Googling how NBC makes its addresses.
But Twitter is more than a neutral content carrier during these Olympics. The blue bird and the Peacock are teaming up to present the games:

Twitter’s Olympics hub, part of a partnership between the San Francisco company and Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA +0.05% NBCUniversal that will be announced as early as Monday, is one of the first times Twitter will serve as an official narrator for a live event. NBC will tout the website with on-air promotions and links to athlete interviews or video clips.

Adams emailed me this exchange he had with Twitter support:

guyadams, Jul 29 11:39 am (PDT):
Regarding: Suspended account Subject: My account seems to have been suspended Description of problem: No idea why. Any chance you could tell me? Full name: Guy Adams Twitter username: @guyadams Email address: xxx

The reply:

Your account has been suspended for posting an individual’s private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents.
Tweet link: https://twitter.com/guyadams/status/228973760785547264 Tweet content: The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com
It is a violation of the Twitter Rules to post the private and confidential information of others. For more information on this policy, please see the following policy page:
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: http://twitter.com/rules
Please note that future Twitter Rules violations may result in permanent account suspension. We appreciate your cooperation going forward. Thanks,
@cbellarun Twitter Trust and Safety

Adams, quite rightly, was surprised by this. This is the email he wrote to Twitter’s European PR head.

Hi Rachel
They’ve dealt with this (see below). Would you mind if I give you a quick call to discuss? 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 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, 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 journliasts who are critical of their Olympic coverage.
Am I to presume, for example, that they decided to complain about me because of my recent article in the Indy’s news page about their various failures? (see link)
And if so, isn’t it a bit rum that they succeed in shutting down my account?
Either way, thanks for expediting all of this.
Yours &c

Know more? Email me: koblin@deadspin.com
UPDATE, 1:59 p.m.: Felix Salmon notes that the rule Adams was accused of breaking doesn’t actually exist.
UPDATE, 2:59 p.m.: An NBC spokesman just told Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch that they filed the initial complaint against Adams. Here’s the statement:

We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives. According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline.

Twitter’s policy says people can’t post “non-public, personal email addresses.” NBC executives’ corporate email addresses are neither personal nor private. They can be found at first.last@nbcuni.com.
And here is Guy Adams’ piece discussing the whole affair.
Image by Jim Cooke

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