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A South African Airways aircraft.

A South African Airways aircraft.

Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images

  • A verified Facebook account purportedly belonging to SAA left customers confused with a status update promoting Bitcoin trading.
  • The incident sparked fears of a hacking of SAA social media platforms.
  • The airline said what appeared to be a SAA parody account on Facebook had been removed. 

SAA has warned the public to be careful of parody accounts on social media after customers were left stunned on Sunday morning when an advert promoting bitcoin trading popped up as a status update on what appeared to be a verified SAA Facebook account.

This raised fears of the hacking of the embattled SAA’s account, but the airline’s spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the account appeared to have been nothing but a parody one. 

“Our Facebook page was not hacked and there is no evidence to support that conclusion. We have looked into the incident, as the page you referred to bears features similar to ours, save for content which has nothing to do with our core business,” said Tlali.

“We have established that it was a what appeared to be a parody account (representing theft of brand identity) and the account has since been deleted. In addition, SAA took steps by reporting the incident with Facebook,” he added.  

Tlali said SAA encouraged its customers to continue to be vigilant, as they may be unscrupulous people out there whose intention was to prey on unsuspecting individuals.

He said: 

The advice we give to our customers, and to the extent it is possible to do so, is check whether or not content carried relates to SAA core business and, secondly, cross check whether the same content appears on other SAA platforms.

He said SAA usually carried the same content across all its social media platforms, including its website. “Where there are major campaigns and/or announcements, we use both mainstream and social media channels to communicate with our customers and stakeholders. Our website will carry media statements with content similar to what is on our website,” he said.

“The reliability of content on our platforms is of paramount importance to us and our customers. We will guard and defend SAA brand identity and integrity to do business through every legally permissible instruments or interventions.”

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