Most good SEO consultants (myself included) use social media to promote their clients, sometimes it is the main thing the consultant is hired to do. In this case I doubt The Times needs much on site SEO help so it makes sense that a consultant would be focusing on social media.
The problem seems to be that the accounts were being used solely to promote The Times and not for promoting lots of other sites too. Would this tactic have been acceptable if the user had promoted lots of other sites as well?
I think there is a fine line involved in promoting sites with social media and personally I’m not sure which side of the line this falls. What do you think?