'We did mess up' - Twitter reinstates UK journalist who criticised partner NBC
UPDATE Aug 1, 7am:Twitter has unsuspended the account of UK journalist Guy Adams, according to a tweet from Adams.
Adams' account was suspended after he criticised NBC for tweeting the Olympics opening ceremony live, but delayed live coverage by hours so it would screen in prime time. He also published the corporate email address of the broadcaster's president, exhorting his followers to complain.
Adams - now back on Twitter (@guyadams), relayed a couple of lines from the Twitter email early this morning NZ time: "We have just received an update from the complainant retracting their original request. Therefore your account has been unsuspended."
In a statement posted to Twitter's website this morning, general counsel Alex Macgillivray emphasised his company took the publication of another person's email address seriously, but added "We want to apologize for the part of this story that we did mess up."
The social media crowd was briefly placated by the apology, but then enraged all over again by NBC's claim that Twitter staff had suggested NBC lay a complaint, then guided the US broadcaster through the process of requesting Adams' suspension.
Meanwhile, Adams was following up coverage in the New York Times and elsewhere with a CNN interview as rival media dined out on Twitter and NBC's PR disaster.
Beyond Adams' alleged breach of Twitter's service terms by publishing the email address of NBC's president, the episode has shined a harsh spotlight on old media vs new media Olympics coverage.
London Olympics: the top five internet fails
1. Twitter banning Guy Adams, the US correspondent from UK newspaper The Independent.
Adams was peeved that NBC did not show the opening ceremony live, instead opting to hold it until prime time.
The US broadcaster has been delaying key events by around five hours, even though its staff are tweeting them live. The disjointed coverage is a function of NBC's bid to close an estimated $US100 million loss on its Olympics coverage by maximising TV viewership at the expense of its lower-yielding online audience.
Adams exhorted his followers to complain to NBC president Gary Zenkel – only to find his Twitter account was suspended the next time he tried to log in.
NBC had successfully complained that Adams violated Twitter rules by publishing Zenkel’s email address.
The reporter counters that he published a coporate not an email address. The NBC boss's email is readily guessable because it follows the standard format used by thousands of NBC staff, and searchable in seconds via Google (which might have been true then - now a search result is dominated by a blizzard of stories about the current brouhaha). You can judge for yourself whether he crossed the line: he has published his offending tweets on The Independent's site here).
The Independent reporter accused Twitter of a too-cosy relationship with NBC, sponsor of Twitter’s official Olympics page.
The Guardian says it will be a defining moment in the social network's history if it fails to reinstate Adams. It's right.
Follow the action online via the hashtag #NBCFail.
2. One News’ “via internet” updates from London. Is it dial-up? Rubbish quality for broadcast TV.
3. Londoner’s being asked to hold off Twitter (not a problem for Adams anymore!), due to mobile network congestion disrupted the GPS systems used to track Olympic cyclists. Shades of the World Cup. These days it’s not a major sporting event without mobile network stuff-outs. Roll on 4G. Or maybe 5G.
4. People all around the world wanting to watch the action online – only to find they had to subscribe to their country’s host traditional broadcaster to see any official streams - and stunted ones at that. Otherwise, you get geo-blocked (and naturally, more tech-savvy frustrated internet viewers are posting workarounds). Traditional broadcasters are offering streaming some content online (here, Sky TV is offering catch-up content via iSky), but it’s minimal. Fingers-crossed this will be the last Old Media Olympics.
5. Google/YouTube/Twitter Olympics websites and their other online resources. Threadbare, and more so for Kiwis.
The official Olympics website isn't much better (see screen grab above), focusing on pretty layout over easily accessible information and updates.