Adams, the Independent newspaper’s Los Angels bureau chief, responded to NBC’s decision not to screen the London 2012 opening ceremony live by tweeting: “The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.firstname.lastname@example.org.”
His account was promptly taken offline.
NBC has the exclusive rights to the London 2012 Olympics in the US. Twitter is an official partner of NBC’s Olympics coverage.
Twitter has now reinstated Adams’s account, but insisted that posting Zenkel’s email address violated Twitter rules around posting private and confidential information about others.
However, Adams argues that this does not extend to corporate email addresses.
Twitter said in a statement: “We want to apologise for the part of this story that we did mess up.
“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 with our Trust and Safety team to report the violation.
“Our Trust and Safety team did not know that part of the story and acted on the report as they would any other.
“As I stated earlier, we do not proactively report or remove content on behalf of other users no matter who they are. This behaviour is not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us.”
The statement added: “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.
“As of earlier today, the account has been unsuspended, and we will actively work to ensure this does not happen again.”
“The email address of Mr Gary Zenkel, the NBC executive at the heart of this bizarre affair, was posted on a blog established in 2011, by a campaigning organisation urging supporters to ‘boycott NBC.’ I found it there, prior to sending out Friday’s offending Tweet, in roughly 30 seconds via Google.”
He asked: “The firms are running a cross-promotion throughout the Summer Olympics. Was that why it chose to ignore its own rules?”