US Airways sends lewdest brand tweet ever

The airline says a pornographic image sent to a customer from its Twitter account was actually sent to it by someone else. Is this entirely believable?

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This is a model of a US Airways 777 Gokidd2008/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There has always been the suspicion that most companies' Twitter accounts are run by boys with toys, but no sense.

This suspicion might be heightened after a simple interaction between a customer and an airline went awry to the infinite degree.

A customer called Elle Rafter wrote a very typical tweet aimed at US Airways: "Unhappy that 1787 sat for an hour on tarmac in CLT because overweight, resulting in over hour late arrival in PDX."

She received a perfectly polite -- if, as often is the case, formulaic, reply: "We truly dislike delays too and are very sorry your flight was affected."

Rafter, as is often the case, wasn't happy with such a response. She tweeted: "yeah, you seem so very sorry. So sorry, in fact, that you couldn't be bothered to address my other tweets."

What could US Airways reply? More apologies perhaps? A promise to try to do better? Well, the words continued to be rote: "We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and follow-up."

Accompanying this message, however, was surely the most stunningly lewd tweet ever sent by a brand.

I won't link you to it, as I've heard you're extremely good at finding these things very quickly.

I will mention, however, that it featured a naked woman and a model of a 777.

The airline commented: "We apologize for the inappropriate image we recently shared in a Twitter response."

USA Today reports that the image was included in a tweet sent to it and somehow progressed its way to the tweet sent by the airline.

"We captured the tweet to flag it as inappropriate. Unfortunately, the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer," said a US Airways spokesman.

Some might worry that this is a craftily worded response. Some might be concerned that this is the best way the airline could think to plug the gushing dam of condemnation. Blaming someone else is an explanation often given by those caught out on Twitter.

Even the 14-year-old who sent a terrorist threat to American Airlines on Sunday at one point blamed her friend.

Let's try to imagine how an image allegedly sent by someone else could somehow find its way into a tweet sent by US Airways. For myself, I have a nagging suspicion that there may have been human agency involved at the US Airways end. Some sniggering laughter too, I fancy.

Deadspin says the image (link NSFW) was actually sent twice. It theorizes that the image -- originally sent to American Airlines -- was initially copy-and-pasted by a US Airways twitterer to tweet to a friend, but personal and corporate accounts got mixed up.

I fear that some bright tweeting thing might have to go home to his mom tonight to explain why he's lost his job.

 

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