Vodafone UK has been forced to apologise to hundreds of its Twitter followers following the posting of an obscene message by one of its customer service staff.
The rogue employee, who has been suspended until further notice, used the mobile phone operator’s official account to post a message saying: “Vodafone UK is fed up of dirty homo’s [sic] and is going after beaver.” The company uses Twitter to deal with customer service complaints and within minutes of the message appearing on Friday, hundreds of its 8,824 followers contacted it to ask whether its account had been hacked.
Vodafone deleted the message from its Twitterfeed within minutes, but copies quickly made their way around the internet and the firm was forced to issue hundreds of individual apologies to users, saying that it had not been hacked.
Instead it said that the situation arose due to a “severe breach of rules by staff in our building, dealing with that internally. We’re very sorry”. The obscene tweet is understood to have come from Vodafone’s customer service centre in Stoke, where its web team uses a range of social networking sites to provide generally less contentious technical advice and new product information.
Vodafone is launching an internal investigation into the incident. But it is not the first time that such sites have been used by staff in such an inappropriate fashion. A year ago, for example, Virgin Atlantic sacked 13 of its cabin crew after they used Facebook to call passengers ‘chavs’ and claimed that the airline’s planes were full of cockroaches.