Twitter apologizes for notifying NBC about journalist’s tweet

By Emi Kolawole



In a blog Post Tuesday
, Twitter acknowledged and apologized for an employee in their partnership division notifying NBC of British correspondent Guy Adams’s tweet. Twitter also confirmed that the employee encouraged the television network to notify a separate division within the company that handles violations of the company’s policies and procedures.

Adams, a correspondent for the Independent, had his Twitter account suspended after tweeting out the e-mail address of Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics and encouraging others to message Zenkel with their complaints about NBC’s coverage.

The network has come under blistering criticism on the social media platform for holding back coverage of some of the most popular events in order to play them on their primetime broadcast — hours after the events have occurred and have been reported on by news outlets around the world. NBC and Twitter are currently in a partnership around the network’s exclusive U.S. coverage.

“We want to apologize for the part of this story that we did mess up,” wrote Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray. “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, as has now been reported publicly. Our Trust and Safety team did not know that part of the story and acted on the report as they would any other.”

“We do not proactively report or remove content on behalf of other users no matter who they are,” the post continues. “This behavior is not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us.”

Adams’s account has since been re-activated. However, earlier in the Post, Macgillivray outlines that Twitter, before fully suspending an account asks users to do two things. First, confirm they understand the company’s policy on private information and, second, that they will follow the company’s terms of service. Once the user completes both tasks, the account is unsuspended.

“We do not proactively report or remove private information on behalf of other users, no matter who they are,” writes Macgillivray.

In other words, the power to reinstate Adams’s account, according to Macgillivray, was in Adams’s hands — not Twitter’s.

As for whether Zenkel’s account could be considered “private information,” Macgillivray writes, “Our Trust and Safety team does not have insight into the use of every user’s email address, and we need a policy that we can implement across all of our users in every instance.”

The post is another bump in the road for Twitter and NBC as both explore the uncharted waters of the “first social media Olympics.” And, as The Guardian’s Katie Rogers writes, it also showcases the social media platform’s overall growing pains.

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