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Is Twitter a publisher or a distributor? There’s a crucial difference

There are a whole host of issues raised by the case of Guy Adams, the British journalist whose Twitter account was recently suspended and then reinstated — including the potential clash between Twitter’s desire to forge commercial partnerships with media entities like NBC and its commitment to free speech. But the kind of behavior that Twitter engaged in by banning Adams also raises some other important issues for the company: as it expands its media ambitions and does more curation and manual filtering of the kind it has been doing for NBC, Twitter is gradually transforming itself from a distributor of real-time information into a publisher of editorial content, and that could have serious legal ramifications.

Gigaom

There are a whole host of issues raised by the case of Guy Adams, the British journalist whose Twitter account was recently suspended and then reinstated — including the potential clash between Twitter’s desire to forge commercial partnerships with media entities like NBC and its commitment to free speech. But the kind of behavior that Twitter engaged in by banning Adams also raises some other important issues for the company: as it expands its media ambitions and does more curation and manual filtering of the kind it has been doing for NBC, Twitter is gradually transforming itself from a distributor of real-time information into a publisher of editorial content, and that could have serious legal ramifications.

To recap, Twitter suspended Adams’ account several days ago because he posted the email address of an NBC executive as part of a stream of tweets criticizing the broadcast network and its Olympics coverage…

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