Highway To The Danger Zone: US Airways Accidentally Tweets Nude Image

Just when you think your company is killing it on social media, some fool tweets a picture of a woman pleasuring herself with a model aeroplane. Confused? Read on…

us airways tweet
It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now.

It’s probably fair to say that it’s been a week of mixed results for the social media teams of American Airlines and US Airways.

On Monday, a 14-year-old Dutch girl jokingly sent a tweet to @AmericanAir threatening them with a terror attack. Highly unamused and quite justifiably concerned, the airline simply responded by saying that they’d passed her details onto the FBI. The girl was subsequently arrested by Rotterdam Police later that day.

High-five! Way to go airline social media teams! But then things went a little wrong yesterday…

US Airways (who incidentally merged with American Airlines in December 2013) had social media disaster when one of its employees mistakenly tweeted a decidedly NSFW image to a customer who was trying to lodge a complaint. It took US Airways a good hour to realise their error and delete the tweet, by which time the image had been retweeted hundreds of times.

When US Airways issued an apology, they claimed that the image had been sent to them by another Twitter user, and that it had inadvertently wound up in the response to the complaining customer while they were trying to flag the image as inappropriate. Either way, we’d hate to be the person who hit ‘send’ on that tweet.

Unfortunately, the reality of social media is that by the time any of us realise we’ve posted something we perhaps shouldn’t have, it is often too late, and the item has either been copied, reshared or both. Obviously accidents happen, but in order to minimise this risk, it’s wise to make sure that any staff operating social media channels on behalf of a company are well versed in the best practices.

Recently we put together a white paper that we feel would be helpful to anyone using social media as part of their business, and you can download it for free: Minimising the Legal and Regulatory Risks of Social Media in Business.


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