Indy hack banned from Twitter over Olympics


6:03 pm - July 30th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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The story was first broken by Matthew Garrahan at the FT

Others soon picked it up

There were words of caution

And some confirmation

So what got Guy Adams suspended from Twitter?

It seems to be this tweet

This has now been confirmed by the Independent’s deputy editor Archie Bland, who added:

UPDATE 1 Guy Adams did break Twitter rules, which forbid publishing private information such as email addresses. But to suspend the account still seems outrageous. It is hardly a huge crime.

He was quite relentlessly critical though.

UPDATE 2 Website Deadspin has posted email discussions he had with Twitter over this.

This is the reply Guy Adams got from Twitter

Hello,

Your account has been suspended for posting an individual’s private information such as private email address, physical address, telephone number, or financial documents.

Tweet link: https://twitter.com/guyadams/status/228973760785547264 Tweet content: The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com

It is a violation of the Twitter Rules to post the private and confidential information of others. For more information on this policy, please see the following policy page:

http://support.twitter.com/entries/18368

If you would like to request your account to be restored, please respond to this email and confirm that you’ve read and understood our rules: http://twitter.com/rules
Please note that future Twitter Rules violations may result in permanent account suspension. We appreciate your cooperation going forward. Thanks,

@cbellarun Twitter Trust and Safety

Guy Adams disputed Twitter’s interpretation of events and shot back this reply:

Hi Rachel

They’ve dealt with this (see below). Would you mind if I give you a quick call to discuss? I’m of course happy to abide by Twitter’s rules, now and forever. But I don’t see how I broke them in this case: I didn’t publish a private email address. Just a corporate one, which is widely available to anyone with access to Google, and is identical to one that all of the tens of thousands of NBC Universal employees share.

It’s no more “private” than the address I’m emailing you from right now.
Either way, quite worrying that NBC, whose parent company are an Olympic sponsor, are apparently trying (and, in this case, succeeding) in shutting down the Twitter accounts of journliasts who are critical of their Olympic coverage.

Am I to presume, for example, that they decided to complain about me because of my recent article in the Indy’s news page about their various failures? (see link)

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/as-america-succeeds-at-the-games-back-home-all-the-talk-is-about-nbcfail-7986147.html

And if so, isn’t it a bit rum that they succeed in shutting down my account?
Either way, thanks for expediting all of this.

Yours &c
Guy

A good point by a Reuters journalist

UPDATE 3 Confirmation NBC did complain

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Thanks to his Twitter ban, Guy Adams is currently safe from being jailed by the thought police.

2. Peter Stewert

Though it might be one of only a few relevant comments that you can include at this time it might be a god idea to get a better comment than the one supplied by Mr Cellan-Jones. If you programmed a robot with the dialog from a thousand Tomorrows World programmes you’d have a robot more uptodate and accurate in their technology reporting than Rory and less likely to jump unseeingly fast to the defense of poor terrified NBC and their knock-kneed battalion of lawyers. (What sort of journalist is happy lobbing a conversational grenade like “savage” and not having anything to back up such emotive words).

3. Chaise Guevara

Agree that this seems an overzealous interpretation of policy. Could be reasonably innocent on Twitter’s part, though: possibly someone who did want to shut Adams up saw that post as an excuse to report him, Twitter responded to the report and agreed (rightly or wrongly) that posting the email address was against the rules. It doesn’t actually have to involve political bias on Twitter’s part at any point.

4. Chaise Guevara

@ 1 Cylux

“Thanks to his Twitter ban, Guy Adams is currently safe from being jailed by the thought police.”

Unless he tells any tasteless jokes on Facebook or blogs, of course.

Time for an “I’m Spartacus” session. If Sunny leads little folk like me will join in. We can start with criticising NBC not giving US Olympic coverage to other territories and see if we can’t get a million people banned from Twitter at once.

I think NBC need to google ‘Striesand Effect’.

Breaking Twitter rules is hardly a huge crime, and having an account banned in Twitter is hardly a huge punishment.

8. Helen Turley

Perhaps we tweeters need an ‘independant’ forum to express an opinion/criticise/praise. Twitter is v corporate now and all of these v large corps. are v pally/influential with each other. Sir Tim said www was ‘for everyone’ – only if the corps. let you…

9. Big Mac Large Fries Large Chocolate Thick Shake.

Well i don see it been worse than sunny detetin comments of libural conspirisy cos he dont lik what they are saying.

An he does that to me cos he liks censering things when he does.

10. Big Mac Large Fries Large Chocolate Thick Shake.

Cos sunny thinks that jornalists shouldbe gived different rites to normal people like me an that they sould write what they want but that normal people like me should be censered.

Since when is a business email address considered “personal” information?

12. Shatterface

He was suspended, not banned, for breaching rules about personal information.

He has been sent a link explaining the rules and been told he can request that his suspension be lifted.

So he hasn’t been banned, he was suspended, and the suspension is because he listed personal information, not because he was critical of the Olympics.

So that’s two thirds of your heading that are incorrect. Whether the rest is true or not, I have no idea – is he really a hack?

13. Chaise Guevara

@ 12 Shatterface

“So he hasn’t been banned, he was suspended, and the suspension is because he listed personal information, not because he was critical of the Olympics.”

Well, the accusation is basically that the rule on personal information was used as a stalking horse and that the true motivation for suspending him was his view on the Olympics. Although I agree that there’s a hell of a lot of conjecture required to reach that conclusion.

As for “hack”, I think Sunny is just using it as a shorter form of “journalist” to fit into headlines. If so, that’s a bad habit to get into.

Hi guys,

This is an interesting case regarding privacy. It’s amazing how quick Twitter were to react to Guy’s breach of their rules. Considering how relatively benign his actions were, I am surprised that Twitter made such a big deal of it. I remember writing to them during the height of Bahrain’s uprising, trying to report the malicious behaviour of someone using Twitter to broadcast the addresses, numbers and workplaces of those involved in the pro-democracy demonstrations. I think it was only suspended briefly, yet some of the people whose details were tweeted by that account were so afraid they even left the country. The account in question is @7areghum, and is still online. It was even mentioned in an official investigation that was commissioned to investigate human rights abuses in Bahrain. You’d think that Twitter would prioritise!


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. CDU Law School

    RT @sunny_hundal: More on Guy Adams being suspended from Twitter, including his email exchange with them http://t.co/cGncJMnd

  2. Pablo Bello

    Why NBC banned Independent's Guy Adams from Twitter http://t.co/wEMFRSnq

  3. Barb

    It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/yIiVF2fD

  4. skippy the bkroo

    “@sunny_hundal: It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/Weox8ydx”

  5. Pankaj sharma

    I had no clue that you can lose your Twitter account for merely posting someone's email or number -> http://t.co/c6eDV8vQ via @sunny_hundal

  6. Steve El-Sharawy

    It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/yIiVF2fD

  7. Maan Alaulaqi

    @YourAnonNews the tweet that got him banned? You'll find it something in here perhaps. http://t.co/vFXiWbBg

  8. Amanda Berrisford

    It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/yIiVF2fD

  9. Haley

    This gets you banned from Twitter http://t.co/wlwdRSTD
    – but this doesn't – https://t.co/FZIgUGiK

  10. Keith Wansbrough

    It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/yIiVF2fD

  11. Ellie King

    It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/yIiVF2fD

  12. thedharmablues

    @Independent hack banned from @Twitter over #Olympics http://t.co/0XJdrJTP via @libcon (follow link for corporate NBC email address)

  13. Sasha Herring

    It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/yIiVF2fD

  14. Phil Johnson

    It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/yIiVF2fD

  15. isinelicin

    It wasn't an article but this tweet that got The Independent's Guy Adams banned from Twitter by NBC http://t.co/yIiVF2fD





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