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The Social Media Storm Surrounding United Airlines

April 12, 2017

By Maha Chaudhry


By now, we’re all too familiar with the controversy surrounding United Airlines after a passenger on an overbooked flight was literally dragged off the plane. Of course, like all noteworthy events in the modern world, the incident went viral on social media. It all began when passengers on the plane shared videos of their firsthand accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Once the Internet got ahold of the news, witnesses gave “interviews” to media outlets through Twitter to describe exactly what had occurred. And so began the online outrage at United’s treatment of the passenger. The situation definitely did not improve when United CEO Oscar Munoz thought it was a good idea to post this response to Twitter:

The message only escalated the backlash, resulting in unique responses from just about everyone on social media. Here’s a look at what’s out there:

The Internet (Rightfully) Shows No Mercy

Unsurprisingly, United’s social profiles are currently serving as a place for critics to air their grievances about the company’s behavior. While some tweets and @replies solely consist of very angry text, others take a more creative route by turning to memes:

Others found United’s slogan, “Fly the friendly skies,” to be especially ironic given the circumstance. As a result, #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos exploded on social media, giving the Twitterverse, in particular, another opportunity to offer its unfiltered thoughts:

Twitter wasn’t the only platform talking about United Airlines. #UnitedAirlinesforcespassengeroffplane was also trending on Chinese social media platform Weibo. Most of its users were buzzing about the role that racism may have played in the event (the injured passenger was of Vietnamese descent). The story was also plastered across the front page of reddit and quickly became a trending topic on Google. On YouTube, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel uploaded a portion of his show in which he criticized United Airlines. Even though it’s been live for less than 24 hours, the video already has over 2.5 million views.

Competitors Make The Most Of United’s PR Disaster

Even other airlines have taken a jab at United on social media. Emirates released a commercial on Twitter that called out United’s previous comments against its airline. The ad ends with the statement “Fly the friendly skies…THIS TIME FOR REAL”, a direct criticism of United’s now-infamous slogan.

Royal Jordanian also tweeted out a tongue-in-cheek “anti-smoking” message to its customers, reminding them that on its airline, “dragging is strictly prohibited”.

What Should We Take Away From All Of This?

United is definitely suffering for its misdeeds and its failure to control them on social media. Public perception of the company has faltered, and its stocks reflect that reality very clearly. So how can you prevent …read more

Source:: Social Media Explorer