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Twitter apologizes for encouraging NBC to file complaint against journalist

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Twitter has apologized for suggesting NBC file a complaint over a journalist who tweeted the email address of an NBC executive.

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Phone and TV remote Twitter
Phone and TV remote Twitter

Twitter has outlined the policy behind its decision to suspend the account of journalist Guy Adams and has apologized for what it calls "unacceptable" proactive flagging. In a blog post, General Counsel Alex McGillivray said that while Adams' tweet was rightly identified as possibly breaking the terms of service by posting a private email address, Twitter should not have encouraged NBC to file a complaint about it.

We want to apologize for the part of this story that we did mess up. 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, as has now been reported publicly. Our Trust and Safety team did not know that part of the story and acted on the report as they would any other.

McGillivray said that Twitter is committed to not monitoring user accounts, and that "we will actively work to ensure this does not happen again." As per the official policy, anyone can still file a complaint if they find personal information on the site, since Twitter says it "may be used to harass or intimidate." Adams' account was restored after NBC withdrew its complaint, though the offending tweet was removed.

Going forward, McGillivray wrote, "we do not proactively report or remove content on behalf of other users no matter who they are. This behavior is not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us. We should not and cannot be in the business of proactively monitoring and flagging content, no matter who the user is — whether a business partner, celebrity or friend."