Today, UK airline easyJet was slammed with the harsh reminder that screenshots really do live forever, and that when you ask a customer to delete the evidence of your dodgy behaviour, that will only draw more attention to it.
Yesterday, a photo surfaced on Twitter of a woman sitting on an easyJet flight in a chair with no back. Twitter user @mattiasharris captioned the photo, “#EasyJet beats @Ryanair to have backless seats…How can this be allowed?”
And you thought screaming babies and bad plane food was the worst part of flying.
EasyJet quickly responded to the social media backlash by explaining that “no passengers were permitted to sit in these seats as they were inoperative awaiting repair.”
“Safety is our highest priority and easyJet operates its fleet of aircraft in strict compliance with all safety guidelines,” the company added in a statement.
However, in another Tweet the airline also asked @mattiasharris to “remove the photograph and then DM us more info.”
This obviously didn’t go down well with social media users who were already weighing in on the dodgy chairs. @mattiasharris refused to delete the photo and another used asked, “are you implying that if the photograph isn’t removed you won’t investigate this?” It was re-shared countless times by other users in the thread.
Never mind the extremely worrying backless chairs, easyJet’s Twitter faux pas is the perfect example of The Streisand Effect, a phenomenon whereby attempting to hide, remove or censor information you end up actually publicising it on a much grander scale.
The phenomenon is named after actress Barbara Streisand, who tried to hide images of her Malibu home in 2003 but ended up drawing more attention to it.
This happened in 2003. It’s been 16 years since then – have we learned nothing? Let it be a lesson that covering up your mistakes on social media can be a sure fire way to magnify them…but perhaps allowing people to board a flight with backless chairs shouldn’t be happening in the first place.