Did a Reporter Get Suspended from Twitter for Complaining About NBC's Olympic Coverage?
Like many others, Guy Adams, the UK Independent's Los Angeles bureau chief, was annoyed at the decision NBC made to delay the broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremonies by several hours in order to play them during prime time.
Unlike, presumably, many others, Adams seems to have been punished for complaining about the coverage on Twitter. Specifically, for publishing the (publicly available) email address of an NBC executive responsible for the broadcast. He writes in today's Independent:
This being the era of Twitter, I did not have to suffer in silence. At around 2pm, I began posting a series of messages complaining about the company’s hugely-cynical policy. One of them suggested that frustrated viewers voice their complaints to Mr Gary Zenkel, the President of NBC Olympics.
“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven't started yet is Gary Zenkel,” read the Tweet. “Tell him what u think!” It then contained Mr Zenkel’s work email address.
A few dozen people “re-Tweeted” the update over the ensuing hours. Several of them used the “hashtag” #NBCFail, which, thanks to the broadcaster’s comically inept coverage of the London games, has since been a trending topic on the microblogging site.
Twitter told Adams that he violated their policy by posting someone else's personal information on his account, and so they've suspended his account. But the blog Deadspin points out that Twitter is more than just a third party obeying rules and responding to a complaint. They're working with NBC on Olympics coverage themselves.
Plenty of activists have used similar tactics on Twitter to get results: calling on executives of big-name corporations personally as well as through social media with hashtags and @-replies has been happening for a while. It's not as if Adams posted Zenkel's personal phone number or address--the most he's going to get from this is a flooded inbox. And now by making the story big news on Twitter itself, it's guaranteed still more bad press for NBC. #NBCfail, indeed.