The hashtag #NBCfail has been trending on Twitter worldwide all week, though the reasons for this have evolved as stories develop. It began with NBC’s decision to put marquee events on tape delay, showing them during prime time hours when advertisers are willing to pay more. This, coupled with what has been described as lackluster commentary from NBC’s announcers, launched the hashtag into international notoriety. Then, Independent Los Angeles correspondent Guy Adams joined in with his criticism of NBC. In one of his tweets, Adams made note of NBC Olympic President Gary Zenkel’s corporate email address. (Here it is important to note that NBC and Twitter are official partners in presenting the Games.) Adams’ account was subsequently suspended. As it is known now, it was Twitter who alerted NBC to Adams’ tweet and had the broadcaster file an official complaint based on the tweeting of the email. Long after the journalism community on Twitter exploded and the damage had been done in terms of public relations, NBC rescinded its complaint and Adams’ suspension was lifted. An entire day after the ordeal began, Twitter released an official statement, admitting they’d messed up. (The hashtag #twitterfail was becoming more popular around this time as well.)
The entire situation has led to much commentary: Jeff Jarvis says Twitter needs to learn the lesson that newspapers learned, in that trust is its asset and that it must run its business accordingly; Mathew Ingram, after acknowledging that suspending a journalist is a dangerous, looks at the legal side of things, namely, whether Twitter is a publisher or distributor and the liability issues associated with the former; and Dan Gillmour says that this decision and Twitter’s response is a defining moment for the company.