Gini Dietrich

Reporter’s Twitter Account Suspended for Critiquing Olympics Coverage

By: Gini Dietrich | July 31, 2012 | 

Have you ever heard of censorship?

According to, censor means, “An official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military or othergrounds.”

And now the “etc.” has extended to Twitter.

A critic of NBC and it’s coverage of the Olympics has had his Twitter account suspended…with no update on when it might be reinstated.

The Back Story

Like many of you, Guy Adams, a writer for The Independent in Great Britain, but resident of Los Angeles, took to Twitter to criticize NBC for its tape delay of the opening ceremonies, subpar reporting, and silly policy that won’t allow us to see the games in real-time, though (by the time we see the coverage) we already know what happens.

He was relentless in his tweets, but didn’t say anything (in my opinion) I haven’t seen from my friends all over Facebook and Twitter.

Am I alone in wondering why NBC Olympics think its [sic] acceptable to pretend this road race is being broadcast live?

Matt Lauer: ‘Madagascar, a location indelibly associated with a couple of recent animated movies.

Adams encouraged Lauer “to shut up” and called out Gary Zenkel, the president of NBC Olympics, as the “moronic exec behind the time delay.” And he said Zenkel should be fired.

During one of his tweets about Zenkel, he tweeted the NBC executive’s email address and encouraged his followers to send him a note.

Twitter Account Suspended

This tweet was what created the account suspension.

Adams said he filed a story with The Independent and, when he went to Twitter, discovered his account was gone.

When working with Twitter support, he was told:

But Adams insists Zenkel’s email address is easily found on Google so he didn’t, in fact, violate the Twitter terms of service.

Censorship or “Rules”?

The suspension generated speculation that NBC has been involved in the decision from Twitter because they are partners during the Olympic Games.

NBC released a statement saying:

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.

Whether or not the relationship (and complaint from) with NBC had anything to do with the suspension, this feels very much like censorship to me.

While there isn’t an official reading through tweets (as according to the formal definition), the objectionable parts of Adams’s Twitter account have been suspended.

If Adams had tweeted Zenkel’s home address and phone number, I can understand the suspension. But an email address that is easily found with a Google search?

What do you think? Deserved suspension or censorship?

Update: This morning, The Telegraph reported that it was Twitter who alerted NBC to the offensive tweet and walked them through how to file a complaint.

Update: This afternoon, The Independent reported Adams’ Twitter account has been reinstated.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Absolute BS and makes me sad: Social Media has jumped the shark. Twitter is officially one of the ‘Big Guys’ now.

    •  @AmyMccTobin I know all companies have to grow in order to succeed so I don’t fault them for that. But I do wonder if this had been your or me complaining that someone had tweeted our email address, if (or when) they would do something about it. 

      •  @ginidietrich Exactly, and hey, my email address is all over Social Media too… I have no grounds to complain.  And the reporter was only saying what we all thought.

        •  @AmyMccTobin There are TONS of my friends criticizing all over FB and Twitter. I suppose they should all be shut down?

  • On the one hand, Twitter is a private concern, so the rules of censorship are somewhat different. You could say they have the right to do what they want (and that’s a whole other post when we talk about who owns what online). But apart from that, this is just nuts. 
    I would have to guess that the relationship between the two had to be a factor. If you or I were to follow the normal channels of filing a complaint to Twitter, do you think there would be a response that fast, if at all?
    This is something that individual social networks are going to have to work through as they balance their service to users, and their relationships with sponsors and corporate partners.

    •  @KenMueller Your second paragraph is what made me think, “Whoa! Censorship!” The whole point of Twitter is to have freedom of speech. Will corporate sponsors now require media outlets delete blogs and articles that are critical of them? Feels a lot like a country that soon may kick our butts in leadership of the world.

      •  @ginidietrich The funny thing is, I’ve seen a LOT of people trashing NBC’s coverage on Twitter, Facebook, and even in blogs. Their coverage, despite the promise of mobile, has been pretty abysmal, in my opinion. I wonder if Twitter will suspend us all. 

        •  @KenMueller Me too. On Facebook and on Twitter. 

      • Harry Brumleve

         @ginidietrich Hey @ginidietrich, this seems a little weird to me: “The whole point of Twitter is to have freedom of speech.”
        I think you’ve maybe mixed two things up.
        The whole point of _the US Constitution_ is to have freedom of speech.
        The whole point of Twitter is to _make money for Twitter_; no matter what its mission statement says.
        People are able to post on Twitter if they follow Twitter’s policies, terms, and conditions (to which they’ve already agreed by virtue of using Twitter’s services). The actions between NBC and Twitter are shocking and egregious, but they are well within their own rights as an operating entity.
        If anything, this should be a lesson that all of our current methods of sharing information are owned by corporations. They are in control of the media, no matter in which mode it’s transmitted. If you want to use a media company that is truly about the freedom of speech, I suggest you start it (you have my phone number).

  • bobledrew

    Twitter acted to protect its own self-interest in its partnership with NBC for the Olympics. Bad move on their part. 

    •  @bobledrew I wonder how that conversation goes inside Twitter HQ? It’s interesting to be sure.

  • My interpretation of this situation, based on what I have read so far, is that this is clearly wrongful suspension of an account. Trying to defend the decision to do so by claiming that Adams violated TOS by posting an email easily found in public forums is just sad. Are we stumbling down the path to censorship, Twitter? I’d hate to think so but it’s hard to think otherwise.

    •  @allenmireles That’s my feeling, too. That’s why I did a search for Zenkel’s email address. I even limited the date search so this news wouldn’t affect it. And I found it very easily in three different places, including his own LinkedIn account.

  • geoffliving

    I’ve lost all respect for NBC during this year’s Olympics. From botched coverage, delayed programming, supposedly providing all access to anyone except those that don’t subscribe to cable (like me), and now twisting its partners arms to engage in censorship, they have demonstrated themselves to be a terrible media organization.  And shame on Twitter for bowing to the pressure.

    •  @geoffliving The big question I have is whether or not Twitter would act this quickly if one of us complained about someone tweeting our email address. 

      •  @ginidietrich  @geoffliving maybe Pete the tapeworm can test that theory 😉

        • belllindsay

           @hackmanj @geoffliving @ginidietrich And Joe takes GOLD!!!! #win

        •  @belllindsay  Ha! @hackmanj  

    •  @geoffliving The whole idea of delayed coverage boggles the mind, in a day and age where the technology exists to carry anything and everything live. They have programming on about 5 different channels (or more) as well as the online programming. 
      The one question this raises for me, because of my broadcast background, is how we now probably need to redefine the concept of “prime time”. That’s the main reason they are delaying certain events, because they want to show it in prime time. I’ve got a ton of thoughts on this that I’m still working through.

      •  @KenMueller  @geoffliving I don’t know why they couldn’t do what the Tour did this year. I happily paid $40 to have access to all coverage in order to stream or watch on my laptop, iPad, or phone. It was great while I was traveling. There were many a day I watched before the doors closed on an airplane. Why is that so hard for others to do?

        •  @ginidietrich  @geoffliving I was excited by all they were offering online, and then discovered that you could only access it if you had a cable package. I have no idea what NBC’s deal was with the cable companies, but why couldn’t they have charged even $10 for people without cable who wanted access. They could have made a lot of money! But perhaps their contracts with the cable providers prevents them from doing that, which, if that’s the case, they need to rethink things. Big surprise there.

        • geoffliving

           @ginidietrich  @KenMueller Amen, on demand is the way it should be.

        •  @geoffliving @ginidietrich @KenMueller I agree, but how cool would it be if they actually just aired everything live when it happened (even on the main NBC channel) and then re-played during “primetime”?  I realize this would never happen, but a girl can dream…
          And yes another huge BOO to both NBC & Twitter for their actions…not very “free speech” like and come on – is anyone’s email address really private these days?

        •  @lizreusswig  The Tour does it…it’s not such a ridiculous request. It ran from super early in the morning through mid-morning, but you could get it on demand anytime you wanted. It CAN work…and people will pay for it.

  • Twitter should have researched this before pulling the trigger on this suspension. Had they been able to easily locate the E-Mail address it would have been a non-issue in my book. They easily could have responded to NBC with supporting information and turned down the request (or ignored it, whatever their policy is). A certain level of integrity needs to exist in this process, including confirming that a rule has actually been broken. Twitter clearly lacks integrity on this issue. Boo.
    If the botched coverage wasn’t enough with this move NBC has placed themselves in the indefensible position of the insecure (or worse – oppressive) juggernaut. I’m no communications expert but what they should be doing is thinking of a self deprecating way to apologize for their horrible job covering the Olympics. Of course the window of opportunity for that closed when they started down this path. Boo.

    •  @hackmanj I don’t know if it was one of those knee jerk reactions (we all do it – I did it last week) or if they truly didn’t want to make NBC mad. Whatever it is, it sounds like it’s getting worse.
      The Telegraph is reporting that Twitter is the one who told NBC what was happening and walked them through the process for submitting a complaint:

      • rustyspeidel

        @ginidietrich @hackmanj Follow the $$$.

        •  @rustyspeidel  @ginidietrich  oh my…. hoping that isn’t true, I love twitter but aren’t they kind of in a precarious position already? That would not be a good thing to be known for.

      • karirippetoe

         @ginidietrich OK, here’s my two cents (or, since we’re talking about the London Olympics, 2p):
        There was probably some lowly account manager at Twitter involved with the NBC “account” (I’m calling it that because no doubt it’s a service provider/client relationship there) who was monitoring Olympic tweets and was tasked with alerting higher-ups if anything out of the ordinary was tweeted. As a result, that account manager did what I’m sure he/she was supposed to do when this tweet surfaced – essentially “following orders” to preserve the lucrative relationship with NBC.
        I’m not saying that what transpired was right. Yes, everything that NBC is doing with regards to the Olympics sucks (tape delay, censorship, crap commentary, not to mention cutting out an entire portion of the opening ceremonies for an inane interview with Michael Phelps). But, Twitter has a (I’m sure, paid) partnership with NBC and feels obligated to work within those parameters. And I’m sure there was some strong-arming on NBC’s part, too. 
        I too would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall during that meeting at Twitter, deciding what to do about Guy’s tweet. Perhaps there was some discussion about censorship before making the decision to do what they thought was right for the partnership. We may never know.

        •  @karirippetoe I would have loved to have been a fly, too! I guess all we can do is speculate. But your scenario certainly would make sense.

  • Covage has been quite awful. Not to mention Costas saying “there won’t be anything given away prior to us showing it here first.” Do they even know about social media? Coaches and athletes give it away first! The coverage deserves to be critiqued, they aren’t doing us any favors.

    •  @mcmullen_greg Apparently they didn’t expect the social media uproar…or how people would find out. Or maybe they did and they don’t care. I don’t know.

  • Ridiculous… if the email address can be easily found in the public domain, it’s fair game!
    Spoken like a current/former journalist. 🙂
    –Tony Gnau

  • Despite all of the negative pub NBC is receiving they’re <a href=””>pulling in better viewership</a> than the last two Olympics (Beijing and Athens).  Considering their current model is better for advertisers I don’t see NBC apologizing for bad coverage or censorship  anytime soon.

  • This is an interesting one. This article on Spin Sucks is the first I’ve heard of the issue, and after I read it I thought, “Okay, if NBC lists his email address, case closed. It’s public anyway.” I followed your link to the contact form, Gini, and didn’t see it there at all. Of course, there’s the extension, from which you can do a bit of research and find their email naming algorithm, but that’s not the same thing as publicly listing his email address.
    I then checked out his LinkedIn profile, and nowhere on there can I see his email address. I’m a fairly decent LinkedIn user, and I thought the only way you could see that was if you were connected to someone. He’s a 3rd connection of mine, and I can’t see it. Maybe he’s closer for you, Gini? But still, that’s certainly not public information.
    I looked around for another article on the “widely available via search” thought, and found this article by Danny Sullivan: In there you’ll find a detailed account from a search engine pro of what was and wasn’t available through Google regarding the email address (before this flap started).
    I think all this serves to make it a much tougher call. I’m not going to into whether Twitter overstepped their bounds or not, because frankly I don’t really care too much about that part of it. But I at least wanted to point out that it’s not a slam dunk case of “everyone knew it anyway”.

    •  @NateStPierre I looked on LinkedIn and I am a second connection so I see his email address plain as day. I also saw it on the contact form on the website and Reuters listed it in a news release in 2008. AND, like you said, it’s super easy to surmise the email address if you know how they use their naming algorithm. But I definitely see it in LinkedIn. 
      But the point isn’t really whether or not it’s widely available. It certainly is easy to find if you really want it. The point is whether or not this is censorship or if Twitter is overstepping their bounds. 
      The Telegraph is now reporting Twitter went to NBC and walked them through how to submit a complaint. That is censorship through and through. What happened to freedom of speech? I know Adams isn’t the only one criticizing NBC. It’s all over Facebook and Twitter.

      •  @ginidietrich True, if you really wanted it, it’s easy enough to find. But it’s not like it was plastered all over their site, meaning they were not *inviting* people to use it.
        However, it’s still a business email address. For a businessman. For someone who is at least partially in the public eye. If people want to talk to him (and there’s no reason NBC can get upset if people want to try to communicate with him), it’s a perfectly viable mode to do so.
        If I’m weighing in on what I think about the issue, I think that his business address was given out very publicly, and in a negative manner. So what? It’s part of your job to handle criticism, dude. 100% part of the job, especially through your official channels. If your work address gets inundated with haters, IT can switch your account name so you can at least handle the in-house stuff. Done and done. It’s not like your private home info was given out. Suck it up and deal with it.
        And of course that means that Twitter is way over the line in suspending the account. It speaks much more to their current (profitable) partnership than it does to their usual company line of being an open and free-speech platform, etc. Many, many, many people have said and done much worse with no repercussion.
        Boo to Twitter on this one.

  • Despite all of the negative pub NBC is receiving they’re pulling in better viewership than the last two Olympics (Beijing and Athens).  Considering their current model is better for advertisers I don’t see NBC apologizing for bad coverage or censorship  anytime soon.

    •  @JoshPGreenberg Very interesting…and I suppose for not worrying about whether or not we’re upset with the delayed coverage.

  • Kristinesimpson

    I agree with the majority of the comments below. If the email can be found online and is public, then technically, Adams didn’t post a “private email address” he posted a “public email address”. 
    Am I the only one that feels NBC is using the whole “private email address” as an excuse because Adams was fairly vocal about his opinion on their reporting of the Olympics? Whether you believe someone should be tweeting negative comments online or not, we all have freedom of speech, including Adams. 
    So… I say this is a case of censorship!

    •  @Kristinesimpson You’re not the only one who feels that way. It’s really, really bad. And it seems to be getting worse.

  • Wow, this is ridiculous and frightening and frightening and ridiculous. End of story.

  • Corinne Marasco

    Am I missing something? I clicked through all 3 links and I don’t see Zenkel’s e-mail anywhere.

  • Corinne Marasco

    Am I missing something? I clicked through all 3 links and didn’t see the e-mail address anywhere.
    Separate from that, someone’s fee-fees got hurt and Adams’ account appears to have been arbitrarily suspended. NBC’s handling of Olympics coverage has been appalling, like showing Missy Franklin with her gold medal before televising the race. So ham-handed.

    •  @Corinne Marasco Totally weird – I can see it on LinkedIn (which I guess is a function of how connected I am to him) and on the Reuters news release. The contact us page I used to show how easy it is to figure it out, if you can’t find it online.
      But yeah…the coverage has been really, really bad.

  • mdyoder

    I think Twitter is risking a lot by bowing to sponsor/corporate pressure–which is certainly what it seems like. Instead of “sticking it to the man,” Twitter appears to have joined forces with “the man” in order to make a buck.
    And, I think it is hilarious when people talk about private anything on the Internet and in social media. This is not a private space, people. It is social and it is public. If you don’t want people to find or have access to your information, don’t post it online anywhere.
    I agree with @KenMueller about a redefinition of “prime time.” Prime time is really defined by the individual user and is more on demand.

    •  @mdyoder  I am SO WITH YOU! I tell people all the time that if they don’t want people to know stuff about them, stop posting online. There is no such thing as privacy on the web.

      •  @ginidietrich  @mdyoder I got yelled at the other day by someone because I commented on their post on Facebook to correct their gross factual error. They said I had the nerve to comment on it because I wasn’t their friend on FB. Well, they posted it “public” and a mutual friend commented so It showed up in my newsfeed. Then she admitted that her facts were wrong, but stuck by her original position because, well, that’s the way she felt. And asked me not to comment again.
        Hello? Learn how these things work, people. 
        Oh, and Gini, little known fact: Mike and i were in college together, and reconnected via social media, only to find that we’re in much the same line of work. THAT’s what I like about social media.

        •  @KenMueller  @mdyoder To your last sentence: SO WEIRD!!!

        • mdyoder

           @ginidietrich  @KenMueller We are both a bit weird. 🙂 Fun fact for ya (doing my best Paul Blart, Mall Cop impersonation), I actually went to college with Ken and his brothers Walt and Mark. I think Mark was my age–Ken is way older.

        •  @mdyoder  @ginidietrich OK, I am the youngest of the bunch. But..speaking of impersonations, seems to me you did a pretty spot on Mork from Ork impersonation…

  • Censorship, and inappropriate and inconsistent censorship at that. Zenkel is a public figure and can be reached through a number of channels, including email, telephone, work address, Twitter address, LinkedIn, etc. so why single out Adams. Especially in light of this post from this morning in which he cites a question from @LauraGlu who was threatened on Twitter:
    “I wonder why Twitter never deleted the account that posted my home address and threatened to dismember me.”
    In addition, Justin Bieber posted the phone number of someone who he said had hacked a friend’s account. Guess Twitter didn’t see posting a personal phone number and posting a corporate email address as anything similar…

    •  @RogerFriedensen  VERY good case studies to point to. Thank you.

  • magriebler

    Oh, it’s back to life in gym class in middle school. NBC is having a hissy fit because no one likes them anymore and Twitter is just being a suck-up. The big issue (behind all this bluster about privacy rights) seems to be that NBC is frustrated about losing control over coverage of one of its biggest money generators. It’s simply another illustration of how the media giants have not adapted to the new realities of audience expectation. (And thank you, @KenMueller, for a nice definition of the new prime time.) They can’t control how news is disseminated anymore, and they’re mad. And if the president of NBC can’t handle a few nasty emails, he’s in over his head even more than I thought.

  • I don’t agree with what Twitter has done here but I would be curious to dig into the Freedom of Speech discussion as I think it could be interesting.
    I haven’t had my cup of coffee yet so let’s see if this makes sense:
    We need to define what Free Speech is and what/who is covered because it is not unlimited. You can’t advocate the violent overthrow of the government, you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater etc.
    You can write a letter to a newspaper but they don’t have to publish it. What is the difference between Twitter and the New York Times.
    Again, I low on coffee and I don’t like what was done here because it feels “yucky”  but I don’t know that we can say rights were violated or that the First Amendment is involved,.
    It is worth digging into, makes for a very interesting discussion.

    • jenzings

       @TheJackB This really isn’t a free speech/First Amendment issue. Those exist when *government* is the censoring entity.
      This is between two businesses. As @KenMueller points out below, that changes the censorship argument somewhat–in particular if they had an agreement to pull what they feel is protected content.
      This, to me, is really just an old-school entity (NBC) trying (and failing) to hold on to the reins of controlling public discourse about a widely covered event. It isn’t working, and both NBC and Twitter look foolish here.

      •  @jenzings  @KenMueller Yes, I agree. It is a privately held business conducting business with another and they are both trying to protect their interests.
        Unfortunately this will probably blow over with a minimal amount of fuss and it will be back to business as usual.

  • VirginiaMann

    I guess in the voice if opposition here. I think that if twitter has a policy, it should enforce it, period. I don’t care how easily the address is otherwise found. And, the policy should be enforced across the board, whether you’re Justin Bieber or Guy Adams.

    •  @VirginiaMann I totally agree with you! The problem is it’s not enforced across the board. Apparently it’s only enforced when you’re a major corporate sponsor. 

  • The quote from NBC? Sounds like the kid in school who went to the teacher to tell on you. Sheesh.

    •  @LisaMarieMary LOL! There is so much of this going on online right now. It’s kind of ridiculous. 

  • Creating issues by calling a public email “private” is just not logical. End of story.
    P.S. If we say anything mildly irritating to the Twitter bosses, will they suspend our accounts? Gulp… 

    •  @Hajra  I don’t know…maybe they’ll try to suspend this blog!

  • jelenawoehr

    There are a couple of factors here that make me a little divided.
    1) This is obviously a level of service that’s only happening because Twitter and NBC are partners and, for whatever reason, Twitter is anxious to keep NBC happy.
    2) However, Twitter is a private company and does not owe anyone the right to use their free service without abiding by the rules of that free service. 
    I think they made the wrong call, big-time. But if they take this as a chance to start enforcing this policy in all cases of harassment and cyberbullying, they could wrest a bit of leadership out of the jaws of failure. With the recent news about YouTube going to real names to reduce comment spam, it’s clear that the social Web is continuing to move away from the level of anonymity which enables abuse, bullying, and other forms of misuse that damage the reputation and value of these platforms.
    I don’t have very high hopes. Twitter doesn’t have a great record of consistency. If the rumors of them walking NBC through the complaint process are true, they were incredibly out of line in offering a corporate partner not just the opportunity, but their overt encouragement, to get one of their own users suspended. 

    •  @jelenawoehr So, let me ask you this then. When others violated this same rule (as in the cases of Justin Beiber and Laura Glu), why weren’t they shut down? The more this story unfolds, the more it becomes a state of Twitter wanting to keep NBC happy by not only pointing out the offensive tweet, but showing them how to file a complaint. If it really were about the policy, they should be doing it for everyone who complains.

      • jelenawoehr

         @ginidietrich That’s what I’m saying — if this turns out to be a change in strategy (to “actually enforce the policy”) I’d be in favor, but if it’s a one-time service to a big corporate partner, there’s no silver lining.

  • Scott Harrison

    Jenzings is right, this isn’t a First Amendment Issue.  But I think the end result will almost certainly be Grass Roots Control of the Message 1, Effective Corporate Censorship 0.  Look what has happened thus far—Twitter’s actions and the reporting of those actions will generate even more vilifying e-mails to NBC and Mr. Zenkel.  Who, after reading this story, didn’t have maybe even a momentary urge to find Zenkel’s e-mail address and send a message of support for Adam’s.  Rather than kill the message, Twitter has grown it’s audience.  They have merely demonstrated that when they can’t be trusted there are plenty of other vehicles through which the message will pass.

    • magriebler

       @Scott Harrison It’s easy to forget that Twitter is, after all, a media company in its own right. It simply outsources most of its content development. So while the delivery system looks different, at heart Twitter wants to control that content every bit as much as NBC does. And as we see more and more partnerships develop between new and old media, we’ll see these kinds of issues continuing to emerge.

      •  @magriebler  @Scott Harrison Ug. This pains me. Really pains me. I hope the word “control” eventually goes away. It’s ridiculous organizations think they can control anything…their brand, their customers, their story. 

  • This is why social media for business isn’t as simple as certain social media advocates would like to make it out to be. There’s always gonna be a fine line between what you “think” you can tweet/post and what the company you work for will “allow” or deem “acceptable” for you to tweet/post. The more employees companies allow that freedom to, the more of these types of issues will rear their ugly little heads…
    Just my stupid two cents.

    •  @danperezfilms I agree with you, Dan. But this isn’t a case of an employee tweeting something and a company getting mad. This is a case of the social network saying to their corporate sponsor, “Hey, um, you might want to see this.” It’s bad.

      • GoSeeWrite

         @ginidietrich Why is that bad? If I owned a publishing outlet (and I do — I own my blog) I very well censor things. If I an working with a sponsor on a project, I never would let a competitor hijack the comments on a post. Twitter is a business — NOT a public good. If they want to do things they think will maximize their earnings, they are well within their rights to. And what people can do if they don’t like it is… stop using them.

        •  @GoSeeWrite The problem, though, is the same rules don’t apply to everyone. Roger pointed out below there are at least two examples of the same types of tweets that have been distributed and those account holders have not been shut down. I don’t mind if Twitter has a policy and, if someone breaks it, their account is shut down. But don’t give preferential treatment to a corporate sponsor by not only alerting them to the tweet, but also showing them how to file a complaint. That or change the vision so you don’t pretend to be altruistic and fight the man.

        • GoSeeWrite

           @ginidietrich They don’t need to apply to everyone equally. Twitter is a private company. They are free to do with their business as they wish. And the people that don’t agree with how they do their line of business are free to…. stop using them.
          Of course they give preference to a corporate sponsor. That’s business. Makes total sense and frankly, they’d be moronic for not figuring out ways to promote their sponsors’ interests. That’s one way they make money, as a business.
          Its a free market. People are free to stop using Twitter if they don’t like how they are running their business. Twitter is not a public service. It isn’t run by government. It isn’t a non-profit. It isn’t in the business of being “fair” or “reasonable.” Its in the business of business, which is about making money.
          If they end up losing money because of some practice they engage in (this one or others) because people stop using their service or because sponsors stop paying them money, they are likely to change their practices. But for people to think that Twitter, or Facebook, or LinkedIn or Reddit or any other private business “owes us” something about how they operate is simply a misguided way of looking at how free markets and business works.

        •  @GoSeeWrite I totally disagree. This is a case of someone being critical of a big U.S. media outlet and being shut down for it. Even though it’s not removed by the government, it’s still censorship and we live in a country of freedom of speech and being able to say what we think. We also live in a world of transparency and honesty, which this flies in the face of. 
          I do agree it’s a free market and people are free to stop using Twitter if they don’t like how they run their business. But I think it’s bigger than that. Everyone is trying to (still) figure out how social media affects big events – such as the Olympics – and whether or not they can control it. In this case, it’s pretty clear they tried to control the criticism and lost.

        • GoSeeWrite

           @ginidietrich Its not a First Amendment issue. That is reserved for government censorship. This is a private entity. One thing that annoys me (I am a lawyer) is when people confuse First Amendment issues with non-government action.
          There is “censorship” every day, everywhere you look and there is nothing wrong with it at all, legally. 
          Look, it is no different than a newspaper, say the NY Times, being more favorable to its advertisers if they wish. Why? Because they are a private media entity. They can cover whatever news they want to cover or not cover stuff they don’t want to cover. They can erase comments on their website. They can “censor” as they see fit.
          Twitter is no different. People seem to assume that social media companies are some sort of quasi-public interest entities. They simply aren’t. Like any company (or any private individual), they are pretty much free to do what they want.
          You don’t like how they conducted their business. That’s fine. You have a few recourses: (1) complain. Which you have done in this post and (2) stop using their service. Free markets work when people vote with their feet. But they owe you absolutely nothing. Nadda. They don’t work for you. Nor do you elect their Board of Directors. They are no different than Wal-Mart or American Airlines. They are a private business that can set their own rules (within some legal limits) and then enforce them or ignore them as they see fit.
          Similarly, I don’t use google search anymore, because I disagree with how they conduct their business now. But does Google “owe it to the world” to run their search like we would want? Of course not. They run it as their own business.

        • mdyoder

           @GoSeeWrite  @ginidietrich Yes, from a legal and business perspective, Twitter can choose to run their business any way they like. But, as @ginidietrich pointed out, we live in a world of transparency and honesty and Twitter should know better than most that you can’t control the message or what people are saying. Word of mouth has become world of mouth and people will find a way to get the word out.
          You said something about Google (or any company) doesn’t owe it to the world to run their search like we want. Don’t they? Aren’t we the ones paying the bills? Don’t they owe it to their stock holders to run their business in a way that attracts customers rather than repels them? Sounds like smart business to me. I could give you plenty of examples of companies who tried to control the message and bully an individual with their corporate dollars and law firms. It doesn’t work like it used to in a world where people use social media.

        • GoSeeWrite

           @mdyoder    @ginidietrich No business owes you anything. Nor do you owe any business to do business with them. Businesses go out of business all the time because they make bad decisions. Happens daily.
          If Twitter screws up they are no different than any other business. Is is bad business for Twitter to do what it did? Maybe. But that is THEIR decision. Your decision is whether you will continue to use your product.
          Get elected to the Twitter Board of Directors and then you can make their business decisions for them. Short of that… you have a vote… vote with how you give them business or don’t. Not a tough concept.

        • mdyoder

           @GoSeeWrite  @ginidietrich Except if your an auto company. Then the government will bail you out. 😉

  • magriebler

    Just a little update: Adams is back on Twitter. He got an email telling him that “the complainant retracted their original request … Therefore your account has been unsuspended.”
    In response to the brouhaha, NBC Sports president has said, “It’s not everyone’s inalienable right to get whatever they want.” (Well, I feel properly put in my place.) They bowed to the pressure regarding Adams, but not to our request to watch the Olympics in real time.
    And now the IOC has asked people to limit their tweets to “non-emergencies.” The craziness continues.

    •  @magriebler It’s amazing to me that organizations think they can control social media. It just goes to show how much work we still have left to do.

      • magriebler

         @ginidietrich Job security, right?

      • mdyoder

         @ginidietrich  @magriebler You are so right. I’m continually amazed at how uninformed and ignorant corporate america continues to be about social media. If they would embrace it, it could be such an asset yet they continue to bury their head in the sand and try to control the message. But as @magriebler said, I guess it’s job security. 🙂

  • He’s got his account back.  If it’s true that Twitter reported the tweet to NBC AND walked them through the suspension request procedures…well, that just really sucks!

    •  @AmyMccTobin I really don’t know what to think about that. Caving to corporate sponsors without being asked to?

  •  @ginidietrich Definitely censorship. What’s ironic about it is that this is the same company (Twitter) benefitted publicity wise from not standing in the way of activists that brought about the Arab Spring and other seminal geo-political moments. But when it comes to a major business interest, its motivations are different. The calculation in Twitter HQ is about how much the business relationship was worth vs. the potential backlash. It was a miscalculation, obviously.

    •  @TedWeismann In the U.S., none-the-less! What happened to not interfering with specific tweets? Man, oh, man.

  • Censorship. Ridiculous.

    •  @rachaelseda It’s totally ridiculous. And it’s gotten worse as the day has gone on .

  • amberdegrace

    This is absolutely a form of censorship.

    •  @amberdegrace That’s what I think, too. They’re caving to corporate sponsors…without being asked to.

  • I’m surprised Twitter complied with NBC. Maybe they just didn’t want to ruffle any feathers with NBC right in the middle of a massive boost in usage numbers. But come on. I would’ve thought that those at Twitter would be the kind of people to laugh at NBC for thinking an email address that is easily found with a Google search as “private.” 

    •  @annedreshfield From what I read, Twitter is the one who alerted NBC to the Tweets in the first place – acting as policeman, judge and jury.

      •  @AmyMccTobin Hmm, the NBC statement above says they filed a complaint, and then left it up to Twitter to decide on the form of discipline.

        •  @annedreshfield  @AmyMccTobin Amy is right. After I published (and haven’t had time to update – just got to my hotel), an NBC rep said Twitter alerted them. 

        •  @ginidietrich  @AmyMccTobin Ah, yeah, I just read that over at The Next Web! Have you guys read Twitter’s official statement? I’m not a fan of how they’ve acted or responded to the backlash. 

        •  @annedreshfield  @AmyMccTobin I’m not a fan, either. I think they took this way too far. 

        •  @ginidietrich  @AmyMccTobin Interesting that they sent a lawyer out to give the statement rather than the CEO. 

        •  @annedreshfield  @ginidietrich What kills me is that they actually tattled to NBC – there’s no other way to describe it. They went out of their way to police that account.  DO THEY NOT KNOW WHO THEIR BASE IS?  It’s us – techie geeks, kids and free thinkers who want a direct voice that isn’t ‘spun.’  

  • RandyRoberson

    It is also in keeping with NBC’s gross lack of attention to ethical journalistic integrity.  Disgusting, but not surprising.  Nonetheless…GO TEAM USA!!!!!

  • NBC DESERVES to be criticized. My Canadian friends are sending me links to CTV! I think we should runs contest for “Most ridiculous question posed by an NBC interviewer.” Andrea Kremer has asked two doozies poolside!

  • Wow. That’s all, just wow.

    •  @jonmikelbailey Right? With the news that Twitter actually NBC about this, I really have no idea what to think. I still think it’s censorship by Twitter. This is just crazy. 

      •  @ginidietrich  @jonmikelbailey This latest news is insane. I’m gonna tweet your email and phone number out and see if they report me to you.

        •  @KenMueller  @jonmikelbailey DO IT! (OK – not really)

        •  @ginidietrich  @jonmikelbailey Don’t tempt me!

        • mdyoder

           @KenMueller  @ginidietrich  @jonmikelbailey Do it, Ken, do it! Channel the Golden Tornado within! 😉

  • mdyoder

    Evidently Twitter has now reinstated Guy Adams’ account.–im-no-longer-verboten-in-twitterland-7994947.html

    •  @mdyoder Yes, thank you! I was on a plane so I’ve updated the post now.

  • I tweeted that the constant squawking and overanalysis by the color commentators were driving me crazy, and IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, MR. ANNOUNCER. Thankfully, my account is still active. 

    •  @barrettrossie You’d better be careful… !!

  • GoSeeWrite

    So what? Twitter is a private company. No one has a right to have anything broadcast on Twitter (or Facebook or LinkedIn or any other social media outlet). People can vote with their feet — in this case, by not using the service. But as to what Twitter can do within their rights… they can “censor” any content they want. 

    •  @GoSeeWrite See what I said to your comment below. The issue is the policy isn’t enforced across the board. If you want to “censor,” do it the same to everyone who breaks the policy, not just those who hurt the feelings of your corporate sponsors.

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  • I just tweeted phone numbers and email addresses and surprisingly enough, they didn’t suspend my account. What’s a guy gotta do to get into Twitter jail around here? Yeah, this crap is straight out of Stalin’s NKVD book… minus the torture and killings, of course

    •  @SociallyGenius I can get you suspended, if you like!

  • andreibuspro

    Lesson learned. Never messed up with Twitter. It could hurt so bad.

    •  @andreibuspro Seriously. I would die without my Twitter account.

  • CameronYardeJnr

    @Steveology When the power of th corporate world falls to the power of the people?

  • 3sarkar

    @Steveology @ginidietrich The tweet giveth out, the @Twitter taketh away?

  • kstaxman

    @tinu Not Twitters GR8est moment really bad pr 4 a social media comp that should know better what R they thinking

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