Twitter Bends Its Own Rules To Suspend The Twitter Account Of A Journalist Who Was Critical Of NBC

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After Guy Adams, a British journalist for The Independent, tweeted a top NBC executive’s email address, he found his account was suspended.

NBC and Twitter have partnered to cover the Olympics. And NBC has admitted it lodged the complaint with Twitter. So whatever the details, it looks like Twitter helped a major media partner silence a critic.

A Twitter support rep told Adams that the reason was he’d posted private information in violation of Twitter’s rules, according to an email he shared with Deadspin, a sports blog.

(A Twitter spokeswoman cited the company’s policy of not commenting on individual accounts for privacy reasons.)

Here’s where things get messy. Twitter has long had rules against “publishing private and confidential information.” It specifically forbids publishing “non-public, personal email addresses.”

The executive in question, Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, has had his email address published elsewhere, and it follows a standard format for NBC addresses. As a major executive at NBC, he’s a public figure.

The address in question is also clearly a corporate email address, not a personal one—though at this point, we’re getting into semantics.

So it’s at best a grey area, where Twitter has a lot of discretion. And in the past, Twitter has loudly declared itself on the side of freedom of expression.

Adams said he’d written to Rachel Bremer, Twitter’s European communications manager, to complain about his suspension.

We’d point out this one thing: According to the email from Twitter’s support rep, all Adams had to do to get his account back was to agree that he’d follow Twitter’s rules in the future. Which he told Bremer, the Twitter PR manager, that he’d be glad to do. So why is his account still offline?

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