NBC exec says Twitter alerted it to journalist’s critical Olympics tweets

The Telegraph | The Independent | The New York Times | AP

In an email to the U.K.'s Telegraph, NBC vice president for communications Chris McCloskey said Twitter flagged Guy Adams' critical tweets about the network's Olympics coverage to NBC's social media department, writes Amy Willis.

“Our social media dept was actually alerted to it by Twitter and then we filled out the form and submitted it,” he wrote.

On Monday, NBC confirmed it had filed a complaint against Adams, whose account was suspended after he tweeted the work email address of NBC's president of Olympics coverage, Gary Zenkel. In an email to Poynter, McCloskey (whose email address is available publicly) said the network had "nothing further to add." He included NBC's original statement:

“We filed a complaint with Twitter because a user tweeted the personal information of one of our executives. According to Twitter, this is a violation of their privacy policy. Twitter alone levies discipline.”

Twitter declined comment to The Telegraph and The Guardian, whose Josh Halliday noted the microblogging service has a partnership with NBC during the games.

In The Independent, Adams writes he'd be "fascinated to hear how Twitter [can] explain or justify this" and says he got an email from the company instructing him how to apply to have his suspension lifted. The form, he says, requires him to "confirm that you've read and understood our rules." He shares an email he wrote in reply:

You will, I am sure, be aware that your own privacy policy, which you have urged me to read, states that "If information was previously posted or displayed elsewhere on the Internet prior to being put on Twitter, it is not a violation of this policy."

Mr Zenkel's email address HAD been posted on the internet prior to being put on Twitter, Therefore can you explain how my Tweet violated your policy? Or are you making this up as you go along?

NBC has also angered fans by spoiling results before they air on time delay. Monday night, the network ran a promo spot for a "Today" show segment about swimmer Missy Franklin's first gold medal -- just before it showed the tape-delayed race in which Franklin won it. Jeremy Peters describes what he says was a mistake on the network's part:

It was a touching, made-for-television moment. There was the newest American gold medalist, the 17-year-old Missy Franklin, reflecting on her triumph with her parents.

“When you’re 17 years old and win your first gold medal, there’s nobody you’d rather share it with,” the commercial began.

There was only one problem. Her gold-winning race hadn’t been broadcast yet.

Still, NBC's ratings continue to climb for the games, the AP's David Bauder reports.

The Nielsen company said 36 million people watched Sunday night's coverage, the biggest audience for the second night of a non-U.S. summer Olympics competition since TV began covering them in 1960. Counting the opening ceremonies on Friday, an average of 35.8 million people have tuned in for the three nights, well above the 30.6 million who watched the first three nights in Beijing in 2008 and considerably more than the 24 million who saw the first three nights of the Athens games of 2004.

This is the opposite of most TV programs, where declining ratings are the rule rather than the exception. But it reflects how broadcast television has become a destination for big events and how social media is driving viewership.

Previously: British journalist’s Twitter account suspended after he criticized NBC’s Olympics coverage

Related: Some Olympics fans get around NBC's coverage with Internet workarounds that let them watch BBC coverage (Reuters) |

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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