Much of the vitriol over the (non-permanent) suspension of The Independent's Guy Adams' Twitter account following tweets critical of NBC's Olympic coverage has been directed at the network, and that's fair. It was an NBC complaint that got Adams banned, after all, and trying to stifle criticism that way is certainly problematic for a media entity. However, Twitter deserves a lot of the flack here too, especially since general counsel Alex Macgillivray wrote that "The team working closely with NBC around our Olympics partnership did proactively identify a Tweet that was in violation of the Twitter Rules and encouraged them to file a support ticket with our Trust and Safety team to report the violation." Macgillivray condemned that behavior, and rightly so, but this could provide an important lesson for Twitter. If they're going to be a trusted source for news and opinion, it's critical for the company to ensure their behaviour doesn't skew towards protecting advertisers and corporate partners.
The line between advertising and editorial content is one every media company has to walk carefully, and the fact is that Twitter is turning into a media company. It's a unique one, as its content comes from a much wider array of sources than usual and is chiefly created by people outside the company, but Twitter is still essentially presenting itself as a vehicle for news and opinion, similar to most existing media outlets. Reputable media outlets have to make sure they don't just turn into a mouthpiece for their business partners, though.no comments