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@GuyAdams is #suspended (Updated)

Did Twitter's Olympics partnership with NBC lead to a journalist's account suspension?
July 31, 2012

Guy Adams is still “trying to get to the bottom of” why his Twitter account was suspended on Monday. The Independent‘s Los Angeles-based correspondent told CJR in an email that he doesn’t know exactly what happened. But the suspicion in the journo-Twitterverse is that it might have something to do with Adams’s multiple criticisms of NBC’s Olympic coverage on the social network and Twitter’s Olympics partnership with NBC’s parent company, Comcast. The partnership made Twitter an “official narrator for a live event,” as The Wall Street Journal described it.

As Adams wrote Monday in The Independent, his disgust with NBC’s coverage began when he was unable to watch the opening ceremonies live at 2 p.m. PDT, as NBC wanted to show them during its primetime hours to collect the most ad dollars. One of Adams’s tweets gave out the corporate email address of the NBC executive that Adams said was responsible for the delay. That was the tweet that got Adams suspended, according to emails between Adams and a member of Twitter’s support staff that Adams sent to CJR. (Twitter told CJR that it does not comment on individual users for “privacy reasons.”)

What might normally be a small, little-known matter between Adams and Twitter blew up, mostly likely fueled by the NBC backlash Adams helped start in the first place. NBC heralded its partnership with Twitter as a way to “enable NBC Olympics to make an enormous contribution to [the online] conversation” in a press release, only to see #NBCFail trend as users complained about inadequate coverage and delays that caused event results to be “spoiled” over Twitter hours before the events were shown on television. Adams was one of NBC’s loudest detractors, complaining about the network’s coverage both on Twitter and in The Independent. When his tweeting voice was silenced, his fellow journalists, probably happy to pile on NBC and its Olympic social media partner, were duly outraged.

As is the case with most things Twitter, the tick-tock is perhaps best expressed with a Storify:


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Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison.