Twitter is alive today with the news that a pornographic image was sent to a passenger in a Twitter exchange between US Airways and a disaffected passenger – an incident that has been tagged as the biggest social media blunder ever.
The company said in a statement that it was trying to flag the image as inappropriate but instead mistakenly included it in a message. The tweet was deleted after approximately an hour, but not before it had been retweeted hundreds of times and with over 400,000 followers the damage to the company’s reputation is immeasurable.
Once the mistake had been realised US Airways deleted the offending tweet and issued an apology.
"We apologise for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We've removed the tweet and are investigating," it said on its Twitter feed.
This nightmare could have been prevented - simply by using social media monitoring software. Birmingham-based CrowdControlHQ is one such company and CEO James Leavesley, explains how this could have been prevented:
“This is the classic example of where one mistake can damage a reputation in minutes. Our clients have full control of their accounts. Using validation software means users can be set up so their content is sent to a holding pen, before going live, that will then be authorised by a manager/senior member of staff. Even an organisation of this size needs to have visibility over what is being sent out. We can also provide pre-moderation- organisations can set the moderation element to ensure that all images/link content is checked by a senior user.”
US Airways have stated that they are investigating the situation. However, finding out who posted the tweet, even though it was in error, can be the hardest thing to do if you have no monitoring system. We provide a total audit trail so in an instant senior management can see who has posted what.”
In a world where accessibility to customers is a key, there are risks that come with working in an environment when immediacy is king. “Your company does not want to be the next organisation hitting the headlines and becoming top of the ‘worst tweets ever’, so take social media monitoring seriously and make sure you are protected,” warns Leavesley.