He was so furious over the delayed coverage he tweeted, “The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel (President of NBC Olympics). Tell him what u think!” Adams’s tweet then contained the corporate email address of Zenkel.
His account was automatically flagged by Twitter. The way it was spun, Twitter blocked Adams’s account after he revealed NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel’s email address and then urged people to complain about the network delaying broadcasts of Olympics events.
Upon notification of the suspension of his account, Adams wrote, “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.”
Adams, The Independent, BBC Journalist Jeremy Vine, Piers Morgan with CNN and journalists from other media outlets screamed “foul.” Their position is that it was a breach of freedom of speech and a “high-treason” example of censorship from a company that purports to be a platform for open dissemination of information.
Then an amazing event spun out from the grand and glorious social cyberspace place we all know and use. It involved an amazing occurrence in the world of journalism. Twitter Inc. actually apologized for what their PR people cited as a “mess up” surrounding the suspension of journalist Guy Adams, who used tweets to criticize Olympics coverage by the company’s business partner, NBC.
Twitter and NBC back peddled with the fervent backlash and reinstated Adams’s account pronto. NBC said it hadn’t realized that its complaint would lead to the suspension of his Twitter account.
Adams further stated, “If it’s standard practice to be immediately suspended after someone complains, it’s a dangerous policy. I’m surprised because I always thought Twitter was a company dedicated to the flow of information.”
What’s the big deal? The inner-journalism commotion that critics inferred, which they claim caused Twitter to restore Adams’s account. The most common, critical comment was that as a result of Adams’s suspension, and initial blocking of his account, Twitter put their partnership with NBC ahead of what should be the goal of distributing information.
Jeff Jarvis, a professor at City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism states, “If Twitter acts in a way to favor that business relationship over the freedom of its platform for its users, then Twitter risks losing the trust of those users.”
So, this is, as usual, a matter of TRUST. There’s a grey, narrow line that separates a reporter’s right to gather background information and a corporation’s, especially a chief executive, to have privileged, even personal information revealed to the public.
One thing is certain. Social media has forever changed how information is disseminated. But frankly, in the span of all things important, this is, at best a learning moment.
Actually, it’s a leaf caught in a thunderstorm.