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: Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

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

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

2 minutes ago

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

Brazil: Google fined in Petrobras probe

Dec 15, 2014

A Brazilian court says it has fined Google around $200,000 for refusing to intercept emails needed in a corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.