Is the new NBC/Twitter partnership bringing down the ban hammer on free speech?
Twitter had suspended the account of a journalist for posting the email address of an NBC executive in a series of tweets critical of the network's coverage of the 2012 London Olympics Games. Now, it's been revealed that Twitter itself took the initiative in alerting NBC of the hostile tweets, suggesting they file a report and detailing the process for doing so.
Guy Adams, a reporter with the U.K.-based The Independent, called NBC "utter, utter bastards," accused them of "money-grabbing," and posted the email address of a top NBC executive. It was sharing that email address that supposedly ran afoul of Twitter's (vague) rules, despite the fact that the email is publicly available elsewhere. But according to NBC, they weren't actively monitoring Twitter for critical tweets. In fact it was actually Twitter who alerted NBC. "Our social media dept was actually alerted to it by Twitter and then we filled out the form and submitted it," explained Chris McCloskey, NBC Sports' vice president of communications.
Since Twitter has partnered with NBC to provide additional social coverage of the Olympics, news that the once neutral microblogging site is censoring critics doesn't sit well. "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," said Adams. "Their whole corporate ethos is that they never interfere with the flow of tweets. Something has gone very very wrong here."
Twitter has told Adams that he can have his account back if he apologizes for his tweets. Adams has thus far refused to do so, saying that it would set bad precedent if he did.
[Image credit: Swimming via Shutterstock]
More from Tecca: