Malaysia's AirAsia Troubled by Plane Crash Rumors
A Malaysian air carrier is advising the public to disregard a stream of messages circulating on social media that falsely claim one of its flights had crashed over the weekend.
Rumors were rampant on Twitter and Facebook that one of AirAsia's flights crashed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, killing dozens of people onboard.
"There was news that an AirAsia plane crashed and 27 people died?" asked one concerned Twitter follower on Sunday, to which AirAsia responded: "That is not true, it's just a rumor."
In an attempt to stop the spread of rumors, the airline began asking individual Twitter followers to remove "malicious" statements on the social media website, threatening legal action.
"If it's true it will be all over the news," wrote the airline. "We have nothing to hide."
In a statement issued today, AirAsia says the rumors caused "unnecessary panic among the public and disruption to our operations," but did not elaborate on how operations were affected. The airline also reported they had informed the police and the Malaysia Communications & Multimedia Commission about the incident.
"We will not hesitate to take strong legal action and initiate civil or criminal proceedings against individuals or groups who circulate or spread false and malicious messages regarding our company, particularly relating to matters of safety," continues the airline.
AirAsia is not the only recent victim of malicious travel hoaxes on the Internet. After the Japan tsunami hit last week, an American man read his 21-year-old daughter had been confirmed dead on an elaborate – but completely fake – website set up to "track" Japan's tsunami victims.
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