Once again there was quite a social media firestorm over the weekend as a woman’s story about her TSA (Transportation Security Administration) run-in went viral. The woman claimed that TSA authorities in Atlanta had taken her son from her sight during screening after something setting off the metal detectors.
The story spread all over Twitter and other parts of the web as concerned people retweeted the original story. Who wants to be separated from their child at the airport, confined to a security area? It hit an emotional nerve, especially with parents across the web.
Concerned about potential public relations damage, the TSA blog posted a video showing footage from the woman’s screening. And suddenly, the story makes a decided turn in favor of TSA. The video — while not complete — shows most of the screening and the woman’s child is either on her lap or next to her in a stroller the entire time.
The TSA Blog Team also posted the rebuttal to Twitter, actually sending tweets to many of the people who had retweeted the original story.
After the video was posted, Nic, the woman who claimed TSA broke its own policy, eventually responded to the story. She says that footage of her phone calls while in the security holding area, and the time when her son was in a separate area, is missing. But that is “being handled between [her] family and the TSA.”
Sometimes people tend toward exaggeration or hyperbole when they’re upset. Is that the case here? We can’t be certain. What I find interesting is that the TSA posted footage of the incident (which the woman states is actually her and her son) on their blog and on their YouTube channel.
In the midst of a potential PR nightmare, TSA (fairly) swiftly responded with their side of the story.
Are you monitoring social networking sites so you can respond in a crisis? Social networkers don’t take weekends off, so make sure you have a way to check in or get notified if something immediately needs your attention. Make it part of your PR or marketing plan.