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Why Twitter Went Crazy Over the Arrival of British Airways Flight 43

December 21, 2013 at 1:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

The top trending topic on Twitter Friday night was a cryptic inquiry: #HasJustineLandedYet?

To tell the story behind the hashtag is to sum up 12 hours of Twitter intrigue and outrage stemming from a single idiotic tweet by @JustineSacco.

Sacco, a communications director for media conglomerate IAC (representing brands like Vimeo, OkCupid, and Match.com), couldn't resist the urge to fire off a final tweet before boarding a 12-hour nonstop flight on British Airways from London to Cape Town, South Africa:

Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!

Twelve hours of flight time gave the Twittersphere plenty of time to weigh in, calling it the "worst tweet of 2013." Even though Justine was unreachable on a Boeing 747 (the route is not equipped with in-flight wifi), her employer managed to issue a damning statement: "This is an outrageous, offensive comment that does not reflect the views and values of IAC...and we are taking appropriate action."

The world googled "BA 43," watching flight time tick down in anticipation of some sort of reaction and retribution.

It wasn't ten minutes after landing that the offending tweet and her entire account were deleted, and Justine faced a hoard of reporters gathered at Cape Town International Airport:

The hashtag is now "#JustineHasLanded," but since the British Airways 747 has exited the timeline, we've lost interest. Where this story will go from here is anybody's guess, but it will not be pretty. At the very least, it will become a prime teaching example of social media damage control while working around the restraints of international travel before a major holiday.

[Image: FlightRadar24 screenshot]

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