Is Twitter turning (more) evil?

The Guardian posted an article about Twitter’s suspension of a journalist’s, Guy Adams’, Twitter profile after the NBC (a US broadcaster making a complete hash of its Olympic broadcasts to the USA) complained to Twitter:

Twitter has brought down a hail of critical tweeting on its own head by suspending the account of a British newspaper’s Los Angeles correspondent following his acerbic reporting of NBC’s coverage of the Olympics.

These stories about Twitter censoring people or closing off access to its platform are becoming more and more frequent. Am I the only one who feels increasingly uneasy about relying on (or even using) Twitter too much? Dan Gillmor makes a couple good points in his post:

Twitter has been exemplary in its handling of many issues over the past several years, including its (for a social network) brave stance in protecting user privacy. So I’m giving the service the benefit of the doubt for the moment, and hoping that this is just a foolish — if well-meaning — mistake by a single quick-triggered Twitter employee. If so, Twitter should apologize and reinstate Adams’ account immediately. If it does so, there’s little harm done — and the company will have learned a lesson.

If not, this is a defining moment for Twitter. It will have demonstrated that it can be bullied by its business partners into acts that damage its credibility and ultimately the reason so many of us use it as a platform. And if that’s the case, there will be much less incentive to use it.

Update (2012-07-31): Jeff Jarvis published a terrific post about this controversy titled “#twitterfail ethics and economics“. Read the article for yourself (it’s worth it). I like this point which is spot on:

I have nothing whatsoever against making business and journalism businesses. I believe they must be businesses to be sustainable. But they must be responsible businesses. They must learn where their value truly lies. That is in trust. Squander that trust and you lose it all.





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