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Twitter restores journalist's account following Olympics controversy

Twitter has restored the account of journalist Guy Adams, who had his feed suspended for tweeting the email address of an NBC Sports executive.

"Oh. My Twitter account appears to have been un-suspended. Did I miss much while I was away?" Adams quipped upon returning to the micro-blogging site.

According to a brief email Adams received from Twitter, NBC retracted its complaint about his tweet, prompting Twitter to put the account back online.

"For a company whose very raison d'etre is communication, Twitter had seemed remarkably reluctant to talk," Adams, an LA-based writer for the Independent, said in a story he posted this afternoon.

The controversy dates back to 27 July, when Adams vented on Twitter about NBC's decision to air the Olympic Opening Ceremony in primetime rather than broadcasting a live feed. He posted a series of messages, one of which encouraged followers to email Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, with their complaints. By 29 July, he tried to log on to Twitter and found that his account had been suspended.

Twitter told Adams that he violated the company's policy about posting Zenkel's personal, private information. But Adams argued that Zenkel's email address is public.

"[It] was posted on a blog established in 2011, by a campaigning organisation urging supporters to 'boycott NBC,'" Adams wrote. "I found it there, prior to sending out Friday's supposedly-offending Tweet, in roughly 30 seconds via a website Twitter ought to have heard of. It's called Google."

In the wake of the account suspension, many speculated that the move was due to Twitter's partnership with NBC for Olympic coverage. Adams pointed to a statement from NBC, in which it said the complaint was made after being alerted to it by Twitter.

"If true ... it would seem that Twitter may have betrayed almost all of its supposed values in order to foster a commercial relationship," Adams wrote. "What could be more at odds with Twitter, and everything it stands for, than for the company to have engaged in censorship in the hopeful pursuit of a quick buck?"

In a blog post, Twitter admitted that a member of its team who was "working closely with NBC around our Olympics partnership did proactively identify a Tweet that was in violation" of Twitter's rules and "encouraged them to file a support ticket."

"Our Trust and Safety team did not know that part of the story and acted on the report as they would any other," Twitter said.

The company apologised for the gaffe. "This behavior is not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us," wrote Alex McGillivray, Twitter's general counsel. "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. As of earlier today, the account has been unsuspended, and we will actively work to ensure this does not happen again."

Twitter has been at the centre of a number of Olympics-related controversies. Two athletes have now been banned from the games for their racist tweets, while a 17-year-old boy was arrested yesterday after tweeting menacing messages about Olympic diver Tom Daley.