Which means more censorship is needed. Where is Conroy when you need him?
Some of the less offensive comments on social media included the airline being referred to as “Al-Qantas” and “the flying Mosque-a-roo”.
Qantas under fire for Facebook site after “racist comments” left by users
- Qantas bombarded with “offensive comments”
- Could face legal trouble if drastic action isn’t taken
- Has deleted some offending comments, but not all
QANTAS has been bombarded with offensive comments on Facebook following its decision to remove pork from some flights, and could face legal trouble if they donÂ’t take drastic action on their site.
Get this: Qantas “could face legal trouble” if they keep allowing the people of Australia to voice their displeasure. Has there ever been a situation when free speech was more under threat in this country?
The decision was sparked by its partnership with Emirates, which came into effect on March 31 and sees flights to Europe stop over in Dubai instead of Singapore.
The mood on social media quickly turned sour after the announcement, with the airline’s Facebook and Twitter pages flooded with “racist and religiously offensive” comments.
A page has been set up on Tumblr with screenshots of what is claimed to be offensive comments from the Qantas Facebook page.
On Tuesday the airline pleaded with its Facebook users to play by the rules:
“Hi Guys, you may have noticed some comments have been removed from our page. These have been removed as they contravene our house rules. We encourage all feedback on this page, both positive and negative, however comments which violate our house rules will not be tolerated. Please help us keep our Facebook page a fun, enjoyable and respectful community for everyone. Â Thanks, the Qantas Social Media Team.”
But it seems that hasn’t been enough to stop the offensive comments.
APAC digital strategist at communications agency Text 100, Karalee Evans, said the best thing the airline could do in such an extreme situation is to turn off the ability to comment on its Facebook page – a move she said is fairly common among businesses in controversial circumstances.
“It’s a tricky situation,” she said. “Qantas is doing what you’d suggest to do in terms of deleting the racist and inflammatory comments, making the community aware of the rules and trying to enforce reasonable expectations of the behaviour. But it’s not working for them.”
“So you can either ride it out, which isn’t the best PR move, or you may have to do something more drastic: Qantas may have to remove the ability to comment on the page for a while.”
Legally, the responsibility of what appears on its page falls on the airline, not the person making the comment, so if the airline could be in breach on consumer laws and advertising standards if offensive comments aren’t removed promptly.
“Current amended regulation from the Advertising Standards Bureau states that a brand is accountable and responsible for anything on their Facebook page just like they are for anything they advertise. This includes comments,” she said.
Otherwise the airline could face legal action including fines or a public apology, depending on how quickly the comments are taken down and how many times it happens.
Ultimately, doing nothing isn’t an option.
“Qantas has an obligation to regain control very quickly,” Ms Evans said.
A Qantas spokesman said it has been removing offensive comments gradually, and said there has been overwhelmingly positive feedback from passengers who’ve flown the route.
“Our customers tell us that one of the things that sets Qantas apart from other airlines is our high quality in-flight meals,” he said.
“Feedback from customers who have flown on Qantas to and from Dubai and experienced the in-flight meals has been excellent.
This isn’t the first controversy to engulf Qantas over its new flights to Dubai.
Concerns were raised recently that Australians travelling throughÂ Dubai risk fines or jail for cultural misdemeanoursÂ such as holding hands in public, swearing, harassing women with a prolonged stare, wearing inappropriate clothing or sharing a hotel room if not married or closely related. Â (SMH)