Twitter Says Sorry And Overturns Journalist Ban
Twitter has backtracked and reinstated the Twitter feed of British journalist Guy Adams, one day after banning him
There were red faces at Twitter after it reversed its ban and reinstated British journalist Guy Adams’ account, one day after it banned him for tweeting the business email address of the president of NBC Sports.
Guy Adams, a Los Angeles-based correspondent for the Fleet Street newspaper The Independent, had used Twitter to be critical of the network’s often-lengthy time delays between its worldwide broadcasts and the live Olympic events.
Adams asked his followers 27 July 27 to file their disapproval with Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Sports.
No Rules Broken
“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think!” Adams tweeted. Later, he published Zenkel’s corporate email address, so that his followers could express their ire to Zenkel.
NBC Sports on 30 July followed up by filing a complaint with Twitter “because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives,” prompting Twitter – its Olympic social networking business partner – to immediately suspend Adams’ account.
Following a review of the situation, the San Francisco-based social network released a statement on its site late 31 July stating, in part: “We want to apologise for the part of this story that we did mess up.”
Closure of Adams’ Twitter account – such an outlet can be important to journalists covering special events like the Olympics – caused a spat for two days until the Twitter staff revisited the case and realised that Adams hadn’t broken any user rules.
What the Twitter rules team did not know was that Zenkel ‘s email address is easily able to be found on the Internet, thus it is in the public domain.
Twitter said that it does not monitor individual tweet streams. NBC claimed that Adams had crossed the line by releasing information about the network executive that was too “personally identifiable.”
Adams received an email from Twitter later in the day, which stated in part: “Your account has been unsuspended.”
In a blog post explaining its error, Twitter said: “The team working closely with NBC around our Olympics partnership did pro-actively identify a Tweet that was in violation of the Twitter Rules and encouraged them to file a support ticket with our Trust and Safety team to report the violation, as has now been reported publicly. Our Trust and Safety team did not know that part of the story and acted on the report as they would any other.”
The explanation blog post continued: “We’ve seen a lot of commentary about whether we should have considered a corporate email address to be private information. There are many individuals who may use their work email address for a variety of personal reasons – and they may not. Our Trust and Safety team does not have insight into the use of every user’s email address, and we need a policy that we can implement across all of our users in every instance.”
After his account was reinstated, Adams immediately tweeted: “Oh. My Twitter account appears to have been un-suspended. Did I miss much while I was away?”
NBC had no other comment on 31 July.
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