After suspending a journalist's Twitter account due to a series of strongly critical tweets about NBC's Olympics coverage, Twitter has apologised and reinstated the journalist's account.
As reported yesterday, Twitter suspended Guy Adams' account for allegedly violating Twitter's terms of service. Amongst a string of strongly worded criticisms against NBC's coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Adams tweeted the email address of Gary Zenkel, the head of NBC Olympics coverage. This tweet was flagged as a violation of Twitter's policy against tweeting private or confidential information. However, the email address was not actually private, being publicly available online.
Twitter has responded to the backlash by apologising and reinstating the account. Alex Macgillivray, Twitter's general counsel, published a statement about privacy, trust and safety policies. Macgillivray affirmed that Twitter does not actively monitor user content, and that violations are investigated only after reports of abuse.
But Macgillivray stated that on this occasion, "the team working closely with NBC around our Olympics partnership did proactively identify a tweet that was in violation of the Twitter rules, and encouraged them to file a support ticket". It is this proactive participation in this particular matter that Twitter felt it had to apologise for.
This behaviour is not acceptable, and undermines the trust our users have in us. We should not and cannot be in the business of proactively monitoring and flagging content, no matter who the user is — whether a business partner, celebrity or friend.
Guy Adams' first tweet post-ban was: "Oh. My Twitter account appears to have been un-suspended. Did I miss much while I was away?"