Qantas grounds spoof Twitter account

Feb 14, 2012
Australia's Qantas has shut down a parody public relations account for the airline on social media site Twitter, saying Tuesday it was "causing confusion" for customers.

Australia's Qantas has shut down a parody public relations account for the airline on social media site Twitter, saying Tuesday it was "causing confusion" for customers.

The account, @QantasPR, was started following the carrier's dramatic 48-hour grounding of its worldwide fleet last October over an industrial dispute with its staff, which prompted an angry backlash from customers.

Using the distinctive red and white "Flying Kangaroo" icon as its profile image, the account lampooned the airline and was followed by thousands of the microblogging site's members.

It has been officially suspended by and Qantas confirmed it was behind the shutdown.

"Qantas reported @QantasPR for breaching the Twitter terms of use and causing confusion. As a result, the @QantasPR username has been removed," a Qantas spokeswoman told AFP.

Cricket legend Shane Warne was among the spoof account's victims, directing a tirade of abuse at @QantasPR after the airline lost his luggage on January 22.

"I thought you were meant to look after Australians, not be sarcastic. You too often are late, cancel flights and lose luggage," Warne tweeted.

Despite describing itself as "the non-official official broadcast channel for Australia's national airline", @QantasPR did not specify clearly enough that it was a parody account not affiliated with the carrier, Qantas said.

Twitter users criticised Qantas for the move, with one wag sarcastically thanking the airline because he was "genuinely unable to differentiate between your company and a joke".

Others claimed it was a cynical move ahead of the release of Qantas's half-year results on Thursday, with speculation it is poised to announce job cuts.

A new account, @QantasPRPR soon sprang up, calling itself the "unofficial official Twitter account of the now defunct @QantasPR" and calling for the ban of "plane-sized Coke cans" and flights into the southern city of Adelaide.

But another group, @Qantas_PR, later contacted AFP to insist it was behind the original account, also providing a copy of its letter of protest to Twitter.

"We have many @replies from users acknowledging it is a parody account and at no time do we believe that we intentionally deceived users that it was an official account," the letter said.

"We would like to request to you, oh powerful Twitter, to reinstate the under your parody policy and we will put 'fake' in its name to show our good faith in not wanting to hurt Qantas' feelings."

It is not the first time Qantas has hit turbulence on Twitter -- it was ridiculed for running a contest about the ultimate "luxury experience" just weeks after the grounding amid its dispute over staff pay and conditions.

Explore further: Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Qantas trials inflight Internet access

Dec 16, 2011

Australian flag carrier Qantas said Friday customers will be able to access the Internet inflight on certain services from February using their personal electronic devices.

Qantas in 'world-first' tablet trial

Sep 15, 2011

Passengers on Qantas will be the first in the world to have in-flight entertainment streamed wirelessly to tablet devices in a trial announced by the Australian airline Thursday.

Chile volcano ash grounds Australia, NZ flights

Jun 12, 2011

Ash from Chile's volcanic eruptions prompted Australian airline Qantas to ground some domestic services and some flights to New Zealand on Sunday, after plumes drifted across the Pacific.

US woman @theashes becomes Twitter celebrity

Nov 29, 2010

A US woman with the Twitter name @theashes who was bombarded by messages about cricket was offered a free flight to Australia and started selling her own commemorative T-shirt Monday.

Hackers send fake terror alerts from NBC's Twitter

Sep 10, 2011

(AP) -- A hacker broke into the Twitter account of NBC News and sent out a handful of false tweets about a suspected hijacking and a plane attack at ground zero just days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Recommended for you

Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

5 hours ago

Online ratings operator Yelp agreed to pay $450,000 to settle US charges that it illegally collected data on children, in violation of privacy laws, officials said Wednesday.

A Closer Look: Your (online) life after death

Sep 16, 2014

Sure, you have a lot to do today—laundry, bills, dinner—but it's never too early to start planning for your digital afterlife, the fate of your numerous online accounts once you shed this mortal coil.

Web filter lifts block on gay sites

Sep 16, 2014

A popular online safe-search filter is ending its practice of blocking links to mainstream gay and lesbian advocacy groups for users hoping to avoid obscene sites.

Protecting infrastructure with smarter CPS

Sep 16, 2014

Security of IT networks is continually being improved to protect against malicious hackers. Yet when IT networks interface with infrastructures such as water and electric systems to provide monitoring and control capabilities, ...

User comments : 0