A satirical Twitter account masquerading as part of the Qantas PR team has been suspended at the airline's request.
The account on the social networking site, called QantasPR, had thousands of followers and described itself as "the non-official, official broadcast channel for Australia's national airline".
"It was misleading and deceiving to the true identity of Qantas and breached trademark legislation,” the statement said.
"Customers were confusing the spoof account with the authorised Qantas Airways (@qantasairways) Twitter presence. There were people that were tweeting the fake Qantas account and obviously thought it was endorsed by Qantas."
While some of the user's posts were obviously jokes, others could easily pass as official tweets from the airline.
"We always give our customers a choice. Would you like us to increase the fuel surcharge or equip our planes with pedals?" and "Not many know this, but every Qantas passenger seat has a copy of the Bible wrapped in a life jacket" were among some of the recent joke tweets.
But other recent tweets read weren't so obvious, including making offers to flyers.
"Want to be a part of an exciting new trial? Bring your Keep Cup on board next week and we'll give you 50 FF points. Easy & green!" the user tweeted recently, while on Australia Day the account invited Twitter users to share Australia Day photos with the hashtag #spiritofAustralia.
The airline faced a huge backlash on Twitter in November last year when it launched a competition inviting users to talk about Qantas luxury experiences. Coming, as it did, in the middle of a bitter industrial dispute and after CEO Alan Joyce grounded the airline's fleet without warning on October 29, the campaign was hijacked by users who took the opportunity to vent against the airline.
Some Twitter users expressed anger at the suspension of the QantasPR account.
"Shutting down @QantasPR just really drives home they've got no clue," wrote one user.
"Wow @QantasAirways really doesn't know how to laugh at itself at all does it?" wrote another.
Qantas may yet learn that trying to shut down social media users is harder than it seems. Another account, purporting to be the same user, began tweeting from the account Qantas_PR shortly after the suspension.
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