Companies having to retract statements tweeted on twitter

Twitter users collectively cringed yesterday as the corporate account for US Airways tweeted an extremely pornographic image in response to a customer complaint.

If you've seen it -- and by now you most likely have -- then you know exactly what I'm talking about it. If you haven't, well, I'm not going to be the one to explain it to you. Let's just say it involved a naked woman and a model plane.

It all started with a Twitter user who goes by @ARTxDealer.  She tweeted the image to the account for American Airlines Monday afternoon. The user operating that account has been enjoying the fame, tweeting in excitement that she'd made it on the news in America.

Another tweet (Warning: link contains profanity) on the account suggests that @ARTxDealer is Dutch, just like the teen who tweeted a threat to American Airlines on Sunday (more on that story here).

However crude it may be, it's doubtful @ARTxDealer is the woman shown in the image. According to Buzzfeed, the image comes from an amateur German porn and shock site and it was posted to Reddit last week. 

At this point it's important to note that American Airlines and US Airways recently completed a merger, and as part of that, it's likely that the two airlines share a social media team.

Anyway, that pornographic image originally sent to American Airlines was then sent in response to a different costumer, @ElleRafter, who was complaining to US Airways about a flight delay.

In fact, complaining is about all she does on Twitter.

@ElleRafter's bio say's she's been complaining "several times a year since 2009" and some of her most recent tweets are customer service complaints to Panera, Red Robin, UPS and more.

She'd also tweeted several complaints to US Airways in December of 2012.

It took about 20 minutes before the tweet was deleted and in that time hundreds of people took screenshots of the image and shared them on other platforms across the web.

US Airways tweeted an apology as soon as it noticed its blunder and then issued a statement to the media later that same day: 

"We apologize for the inappropriate image we recently shared in a Twitter response. Our investigation has determined that the image was initially posted to our Twitter feed by another user," the statement reads. "We captured the tweet to flag it as inappropriate. Unfortunately the image was inadvertently included in a response to a customer. We immediately realized the error and removed our tweet. We deeply regret the mistake and we are currently reviewing our processes to prevent such errors in the future."

Of course, US Airways isn't the first company or corporation to commit a social media faux pas, but without a doubt, this one is the worst. Scroll through the gallery above to see some more social media fails, available here for mobile users.