US Airways NSFW Tweet: Don’t Miss the Real Lesson

US Airways hasn’t fired the employee who tweeted a pornographic picture from the airline’s official Twitter account, calling the act an “honest mistake”. On Tuesday, US Airways spokesperson Matt Miller told Mashable that the accidental post was made after the picture had been tweeted to the US Airways account.

The picture, referred to as NSFW (Not Safe for Work) featured a woman pleasuring herself with a model airplane.

Miller said when the employee tried to flag the image as inappropriate, he mistakenly included it in a tweet to a customer.  ”It was an honest mistake,” he told Mashable, adding that the employee responsible for the tweet will keep his job.

At Social Media Today, Bryan Kramer applauded Miller’s transparency about the situation, citing it as a good example of Human to Human (H2H) interaction.

“US Airways, I commend you for not firing anyone,” Kramer said. “You could have been like everyone else and found a scapegoat, but didn’t.”

While reminding us that the people behind company tweets are just like us, and make mistakes, is a good lesson, there is much more important one we need to “re-learn”.

US Airways Apologizes

It is much easier to prevent an issue like this than it is to respond to thousands of angry users.

In a faster-than-ever paced online world, it is imperative to properly edit content before publishing it to the masses. Many social tools will show previews of images and video before the user clicks “send” or “post”. If yours doesn’t, paste the url embedded in the tweet or post and open it in another browser window to ensure it’s the right content. After posting content, be sure to look at the live page. This will help you catch blunders and minimize the amount of time any inaccurate or offensive content remains public. (That US Airways tweet remained on the company’s timeline for nearly an hour!)

I do think it’s quite possible the employee behind Monday’s tweet didn’t intend for that picture to ever be shared to the airline’s customers. For that, I think US Airways made the right call. The company needs to remember, though, that people are much less forgiving the second time around, and take appropriate action to better ensure this doesn’t happen again. If that means reviewing platforms and software configurations, or even bringing on another employee to review live posts, the costs involved could save the airline a great deal of headache down the road.

If you’ve never been behind a tweet that was so embarrassing it went viral, beckoning thousands to point fingers, take the time today to review the process of posting content online. I can’t stress enough how important the basics are: preview, edit, publish, and review. It is much easier to prevent a problem than it is to deal with the backlash.


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