On Tuesday, we hosted a special What's Trending live Google+ Hangout with Guy Adams, a reporter for the UK's Independent, whose Twitter account was suspended without warning after he bashed NBC's Olympics coverage and distributed the corporate email of an NBC executive. After a frenzy of buzz erupted around Adams' story, the LA-based journalist's Twitter account was resurrected Tuesday morning.
Adams said of the event: "It really brought home to me as a journalist how much I rely on Twitter these days to do my job and, secondly, raised some questions about Twitter and its relationships with its commercial partners."
Jeff Jarvis struck a chord in the debate, stating, "We in journalism understand the often-violated rules of church vs. state, but I think the technology companies need this as well so that we can trust them."
In reference to the statement he received from Twitter, Adams said it feels as if his account was reinstated because NBC dropped its complaints against him. "That's a cop-out," he said.
Twitter emails to tell me: "we have just received an update from the complainant retracting their original request..."
-- Guy Adams (@guyadams) July 31, 2012
"... Therefore your account has been unsuspended." No further explanation given, or apology offered -- Guy Adams (@guyadams) July 31, 2012
"I don't think I should've been suspended in the first place," Adams said. "I don't see how I broke any of Twitter's rules. I think Twitter ignored its own rules... because they were in bed with a commercial partner."
Journalists will continue to speculate upon the back room dealings that went down between Twitter and NBC, but Adams doesn't regret his original action.
"It was his work email. It was easy for anyone to find. It was not written in a private format. And above all, it's a corporate email address... I don't think I invaded this guy's privacy at all."
Jarvis pointed out that Jim Bell, Producer of NBC Olympics, has been on Twitter and responding to comments, but Adams confirmed that he hasn't had any personal interaction with Twitter -- only very formal emails. Adams admitted that if NBC had only picked up the phone and called him, he probably would've deleted the tweet.
It helps that Adams' employer, The Independent, has been supportive. He said that after a couple of hours of contemplation and conversation, all agreed that Twitter and NBC were in the wrong.
When asked if he would have done anything differently if he had the chance, Adams replied, "No I don't think so. I strongly believe that people who run businesses ought to be responsible for what those businesses do. And by that I mean that they ought to not ignore their customers."
He continued, "NBC has clearly ignored what the viewing public wants throughout its coverage of the Olympics. If the President of NBC Olympics does not want to hear from the viewers... I don't think he's in the right job."
So, in the future, would he still tweet someone's email address?
"Not without having a good think about it, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't."