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'Ethical questions raised' after journalist's Twitter account suspended

Twitter has suspended the account of the Independent’s Los Angeles bureau chief Guy Adams, days after he criticised NBC’s London Olympics 2012 coverage.

Image: Martin Keene/PA Wire/Press Association Images

TWITTER HAS SUSPENDED the account of the Independent’s Los Angeles bureau chief Guy Adams, an action which the journalist said raises “ethical issues”.

The suspension came days after Adams criticised NBC’s London Olympics 2012 coverage on his Twitter account.

A spokesperson from Twitter told TheJournal.ie that it could not comment on individual accounts because of privacy issues. However, it directed us to the email sent from Twitter to Guy Adams, as reposted on Deadspin.

That email stated that Adams’ account “has been suspended for posting an individual’s private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents.”

Rules

It stated that it is against Twitter rules to post the private and confidential information of others and that future violations by Adams may result in permanent account suspension.

Adams had tweeted the email address of Gary Zenkel, who is the President of NBC Olympics.

Adams replied to Twitter by email, saying he would abide by its rules, but he didn’t see how he broke them as he didn’t publish a private email address. He said the email address he posted was “widely available to anyone with access to Google”.

According to the Twitter page on protecting private information, https://support.twitter.com/entries/18368#: “Not everyone has the same definition of what is private and what should be shared. If a friend or connection has posted information you prefer to be kept private, contact them and ask them to take down the content.”

Criticism

Adams had recently written an article for the Independent about online criticism of NBC, noting that a hashtag, #NBCfail, had been set up.  In the article, he said that the broadcaster had made a “string of mis-takes” in its coverage of the Olympics.

Twitter and NBC have created a partner page for the Olympics, sharing information, tweets and comments from NBC anchors. According to the Wall Street Journal, no money changed hands in creating this partnership.

Writing on The Independent’s website this evening, Adams said that he posted messages critical of NBC on his Twitter account on Friday afternoon. He said that yesterday morning, he filed his article on NBC’s Olympics coverage, and that shortly afterwards he discovered his Twitter account was suspended.

Adams said he “[does] not wish Mr Zenkel any harm” and he is “still trying to get to the bottom of the hows and whys of my suspension”.

The journalist added that the suspension “raises various ethical issues relevant to journalism in the online era”.

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