qantas twitter5
1344 days ago
 

Qantas CEO blames Twitter for share price collapse, forgets own errors

Fighting talk from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce who has attacked Twitter in the wake of the A380 incident in November 2010 when an engine exploded shortly after take-off.

qantas twitter5

In a radio interview in Australia, after the airline revealed the cost of the incident had run to around AUS $80 million, Joyce claimed mixed reports about the incident coming via Twitter caused the share price to tumble.

Here is the segment of the interview, starting with ABC interviewer Peter Ryan:

“It must have been a very confusing time given that there were reports on Twitter that the plane had actually crashed. Just how important were cool heads at that time?”

Joyce replies:

“We first knew it was a problem when our share price started to collapse. And that was because these reports coming out of Twitter that were reported by one mainstream media outlet on the basis of the Twitter reports that the aircraft had crashed in Indonesia started obviously causing a problem with the share price.

“When we found out immediately that that wasn’t an issue, the aircraft was still in the air, we went out there and immediately wrote a press release making it very clear that the aircraft was still flying.

“What also I think is important is that the major media outlets don’t pick up on Twitter commentary and report it as fact, which is what happened in this case. And I think that was a bit disappointing. But it needs us to be very proactive to ensure that doesn’t happen in the future.”

Joyce raises a number of good points about the reliance of mainstream media on Twitter to report events as factual.

But there are number of issues that have not been raised, such as why Qantas did not use its somewhat flimsy Twitter presence at the time (it has since launched a number of new accounts) to at least head-off the rumours that were swirling around in the immediate aftermath of the incident, especially as fragments of the engine were being found by locals in Indonesia and images posted on the web.

And, more importantly, rather than solely blaming Twitter for the misreporting, some might suggest perhaps the incident management team at the airline itself should shoulder some of blame, too.

Many saw the report on the Reuters wire (and picked up in mainstream media everywhere) stating the following message:

qantas twitter3

This is the type of information – from Qantas officials, no less – that would’ve been working its way around the web (note the sharing buttons alongside the story).

Blaming social media is clearly only part of the story here.

Interestingly, as this chart below indicates, Qantas did indeed see its share price fall on the day of the incident (4 November) but it recovered within seven days.

The Qantas stock, over the following three months, has tumbled away, in part due to a row with engine maker Rolls Royce and the grounding of the aircraft – two factors not influenced by Twitter, presumably.

qantas share price

 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.

 

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  3. Mark Adams

    Your headline is wrong. The CEO does not blame Twitter – he blames the media outlet [Reuters - but unnamed] for reporting Twitter.

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @mark – disagree.

      “We first knew it was a problem when our share price started to collapse. And THAT WAS BECAUSE THESE REPORTS COMING OUT OF TWITTER that were reported by one mainstream media outlet ON THE BASIS OF THE TWITTER reports that the aircraft had crashed in Indonesia started obviously causing a problem with the share price.

       
  4. Ben

    Start packing your bags and looking for a job, Alan. Blaming Twitter probably indicates you don’t even know what it is.

     
  5. Pasqualina Petruccio

    Blaming Twitter interesting, stupid and fool hardy.

    How a major airline like Qantas can avoid Twitter astounds me, and only starts after a disaster, what on earth were the PR dept thinking about?

    Moral of the tale, airlines take note social media is not going away, embrace, understand it and use it to your advantage.

    Is this not a classic problem in the travel industry….slow on the uptake?

     
  6. steve sherlock

    i think he has a reasonable point in that: people are so gullible and prepared to report something as fact, even without the facts (be that twitter or newspapers)

    i guess the difference is that there is more accountability in newspapers given you can get sued for mis-reporting (and not so easy to just delete the tweet)

    so bloggers and twits alike (and newspaper journo’s), could lift their game if they want to be taken seriously as a source of news.

    as far as drawing correlation between a single tweet/report and share price – well thats just speculation – so i agree better that qantas ceo left that alone, and just put hand up that exploding engines are bad news for share prices….

     
  7. Stuart

    Answer Twitter with a press release. Cutting edge there.

    Face it, that Reuters report quoting CNBC quoting a Qantas spokesperson hit the web quite a while after photos of people walking around with Qantas wreckage on Batam were all over Indonesian social networks.

    As soon as the Batam pics hit the web the Qantas official Twitter account (cough cough) should have immediately tweeted that there had been an “incident” but that the flight was still in the air and enroute to Sg. That’s all they had to do.

    Appallingly handled.

     
  8. Graham

    This makes about as much sense as blaming forums 10 years ago.

    Bit surprised that a CEO would say in open forum that they do not have control of their brand and blame the general public.

     
  9. Troy Thomspon

    Nice read Kev.

    Two things stand out for me:

    1. Twitter (read, social communication) is not going away, deal with it Alan. If someone is tweeting / reporting false information on Twitter, you, as Qantas need to respond immediately. Not after a 2 hour PR meeting, immediately.

    2. Press releases are slower than Twitter. Your PR staff should know that.

    Oh, and Alan, probably a good idea to invest in a social monitoring tool.

    - Troy

     
 
 

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