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Twitter's Olympics suspension kickstarts signups, report says

Company reportedly saw an uptick in its signup rate after mainstream news outlets covered the suspension of a U.K. reporter's Twitter account.


Twitter's decision to suspend The Independent reporter Guy Adams' account might have actually benefited the site.

After the suspension and subsequent outrage among Twitter users was aired in mainstream news outlets and became an international discussion surrounding the Olympics, Twitter's signup rate actually increased, TechCrunch is reporting, citing a source. According to that source, Twitter believed that there was a silver lining to the controversy and that was "a good thing."

The trouble started last month when the Olympics kicked off in London. Adams criticized NBC for not airing the opening ceremony live. However, he also published the corporate e-mail address of NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel, prompting Twitter to suspend his account.

Soon after he was suspended from Twitter, Adams' troubles with NBC, which admitted to complaining to Twitter, and the social network's actions, became a hot-button topic. After reaching a tipping point, Twitter apologized in a blog post last month, saying that its employees, which identified the tweet as a potential problem and alerted NBC, shouldn't have proactively targeted an individual tweet.

"That said, we want to apologize for the part of this story that we did mess up," Twitter wrote in the post. "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."

That the controversy reportedly sparked an increase in signups is rather interesting. It underscores that perhaps bad press, at least for Twitter, really is good press. And it speaks to the popularity of the service, regardless of the mistakes the company might have made.

Twitter reported in June that its users were sending out over 400 million tweets per day. In May, that figure stood at 340 million.

CNET has contacted Twitter for comment on the TechCrunch report. We will update this story when we have more information.