LONDON — Twitter has suspended the account of a Los Angeles-based reporter for a British newspaper who included the email address of the NBC Olympics president and asked his followers to write him to complain about the network’s coverage.
Guy Adams, a correspondent for The Independent, was upset with the network’s decision to broadcast the opening ceremony on tape delay when he sent his critical tweet Friday afternoon.
“The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think!” it read, before going on to provide his corporate email listing.
Adams checked his Twitter account Sunday and received a message it was suspended. He then received an email Monday that attributed the move to his tweet that included Zenkel’s email.
Rachael Horwitz, a spokeswoman for the social media site, said the company never comments on individual users for privacy reasons. But she said Twitter considers work emails private unless they’re publicly shared.
NBC has racked up record ratings through the first couple days of the London Games, but also has faced harsh criticism online, largely from American viewers upset with tape-delayed coverage. Angry Olympic fans used the hashtag “nbcfail” and even set up at least one parody account poking fun at the TV wait.
The network is streaming the events online, but that clearly isn’t enough for some viewers who shelled out thousands of dollars for big-screen TVs and want their live coverage.
“If this Gary Zenkel doesn’t want to hear from the many tens of thousands of customers he upset with his network’s coverage, I think he’s in the wrong job,” Adams said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
When Twitter receives a complaint like the one against Adams, its support team does its own investigation before deciding whether to suspend the account.
Adams said he found Zenkel’s email with a simple online search, but said he didn’t grab it from an NBC website.
“His address is not a private email address,” Adams said. “It’s a corporate address. It’s not his private email address. It’s a corporate account. It’s company information.”
Twitter and NBC have partnered on some social media-based projects surrounding the Olympics. But Horwitz said the site doesn’t actively monitor content.
The London Olympics has been dubbed the social media games, and it’s lived up to the moniker already:
—Switzerland stripped a soccer player of his Olympic accreditation after he sent a threatening and racist message on Twitter about South Koreans. The comments by Michel Morganella came hours after the Swiss lost 2-1 to South Korea on Sunday.
—Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked off Greece’s Olympic team last week for her comments on Twitter mocking African immigrants and expressing support for a far-right political party.
—U.S. women’s soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo took to Twitter to criticize NBC analyst Brandi Chastain, and the network responded with a statement praising the broadcast coverage by the former national team defender.
—A group of Olympians is using Twitter as part of a campaign protesting an International Olympic Committee policy limiting the athletes’ ability to market themselves during the games.
And now the situation with Adams, who plans to try for reinstatement to the site, even though he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
“I think Twitter’s approach is being very heavy-handed,” he said. “They suspended my account without warning me. They didn’t tell me for 24 hours why it had been suspended.”