According to Twitter, revealing Zenkel’s corporate email address violated Twitter Rules, which state that “posting another person’s private and confidential information is a violation” and lists “non-public, personal email addresses” as one of the examples.
Like the US and UK, Twitter and NBC have a special relationship for these Olympics; Twitter is serving as the “official narrator” for the event online, per the Wall Street Journal. In fact, it was Twitter that notified NBC of Adams’ tweet, not the other way around.
Did Adams violate Zenkel’s privacy by publishing that corporate email address? I asked a passel of my favorite privacy wonks (via Twitter, naturally). The answers were mixed.
Many said, No way, Jose. UX designer and strategist Garrett Cobarr tweeted “No, corporate emails are anonymous not private. Who do consumers write to when they have a broken toaster?”
Kashmir Hill, author of Forbes’ The Not So Private Parts blog, was in between. The email address was probably not private, she said, but Adams’ inciting people to send hate mail was a bigger privacy violation.
In this case the point may be moot. On that same privacy rules page Twitter also states:
Keep in mind that although you may consider certain information to be private, not all postings of such information may be a violation of this policy. If information was previously posted or displayed elsewhere on the Internet prior to being put on Twitter, it is not a violation of this policy.
It didn’t take Netizens long to find an example of Zenker’s email address being published in similar circumstances a year ago, when a group of Christians were incensed after NBC expunged the words “under God” from a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
To recap today’s Twitlympics highlights: