Guy Adams, Twitter, and #NBCFail

Guy Adams, Twitter, and #NBCFail
by Rose de Fremery

As anyone following the London 2012 Olympics on Twitter knows, NBC has taken heavy and sustained criticism this week for its time-delayed coverage of the Games being held across the pond.  In an era when access to information is instantaneous and immediate, the decision not to broadcast certain Olympic events until prime time hours has struck many Twitter denizens as both outdated and cynical, and they have made their feelings known through continued frequent use of the hashtag #NBCFail.

Twitter has found itself at the center of controversy as well by apparently running afoul of its own stated policy in the course of suspending a British journalist’s Twitter account.  Guy Adams, Los Angeles correspondent for The Independent, voiced his ire over Olympic coverage in a series of tweets calling out NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkelfor his decision to tape-delay the broadcast of the Opening Ceremonies.  In one tweet, Adams encouraged his followers to contact Zenkel directly at his corporate email address, which was already publicly available on the web.

An unnamed staffer at Twitter apparently caught sight of the tweet and invited NBC to submit a complaint, which the television network promptly did, resulting in Adams’ suspension from Twitter.  That act caused a major outcry, leading Twitter on Tuesday to publish a mea culpa of sorts in which the social networking service admitted to not having followed its own stated policy on handling account suspensions.  Yesterday, Adams published his own essay on the debacle, arguing that Twitter is at a crossroads with regard to reconciling its core values with the interests of critical business partnerships.  Twitter’s handling of free speech issues will likely come under increased scrutiny as have other tech giants, such as Google (formerly of “Don’t be evil” fame) and Facebook.
Rose de Fremery is a Managing Editor at The Social Media Monthly.  She writes on a range of topics related to social media including crowdfunding, social travel, sports, and startup culture.  Her article on the London 2012 Olympics appears in our July/August issue.  You can follow her on Twitter at @rosedefremery.