U.S. Airways Deletes, Apologizes After A Pornographic Reply On Twitter

Routine social media customer service turned into a not-safe-for-work nightmare today for U.S. Airways. During an exchange with a disgruntled customer, the company’s Twitter account replied with a link to a pornographic twitpic image.

Although the tweet was a reply and therefore didn’t appear on the timeline of all @USAirways‘ 418,000 followers, it was sensational enough to pick up serious viral steam.

The tweet, which was deleted within the hour, was up long enough for countless screen-grab opportunities and Deadspin, and other chroniclers of Internet mayhem, quickly followed up with posts [Warning: Link is extremely NSFW]. The hashtag #usairways was trending on Twitter for much of the day.

After deleting the tweet, U.S. Airways apologized on Twitter:

 

Postscript: Here’s a little more detail for those of you asking How could this happen?

The airline’s explanation isn’t very enlightening:

We apologize for the inappropriate image we recently shared in a Twitter response. Our investigation has determined that the image was initially posted to our Twitter feed by another user. We captured the tweet to flag it as inappropriate. Unfortunately the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer. We immediately realized the error and removed our tweet. We deeply regret the mistake and we are currently reviewing our processes to prevent such errors in the future.

In fact, the x-rated photo was posted by an online prankster and directed at the Twitter account of U.S. Airways parent company American Airlines at 1:59 p.m. Eastern. About a half hour later, the url of the hard-core twitpic somehow wound up on two replies from the U.S. Airways Twitter account.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing | Twitter

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About The Author: is Third Door Media's Social Media Correspondent, reporting on the latest news for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. He spent 24 years with the Los Angeles Times, serving as social media and reader engagement editor from 2010-2014. A graduate of UC Irvine and the University of Missouri journalism school, Beck started started his career at the Times as a sportswriter and copy editor. Follow Martin on Twitter (@MartinBeck), Facebook and/or Google+.

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  • SuESanders

    Although the tweet was a reply and therefore didn’t appear on the timeline of all @USAirways‘ 418,000 followers, it was sensational enough to pick up series viral steam. http://qr.net/stx3

  • Jawad Latif

    And there is no single screen shot of that :( :-p

  • Josh D

    Click the link at the top of the article: quickly followed up with posts

  • Jawad Latif

    thanks :D

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