Typos are our best friends when they reduce us to tears from laughing (DYAC, anyone?). But typos are also our worst enemies when it changes the meaning of the original message completely. As such, even us in the media are not spared from making these “very human” mistakes sometimes. While some of us are lucky enough to catch it before it does further damage, others are doomed to live with the screen shots of their typos for eternity.
And on that note, here are some of this year’s most epic (and could be quite damaging) typos from some of your most trusted news sources.
In January this year, we were caught off-guard when The Guardian published a ranking of cricket commentators from the recent Ashes series between England and Australia. Sure, it wasn’t exactly breaking news but it still sat in their “Sport” category and sports news, as you might know, does garner some attention. This one pull in a lot that day because there was a slight problem with the headline:
Stanley Johnson (of BrandDNA) was one of the first to spot the “wanking” error and immediately alerted them. They changed it, of course. The headlines now read, “Ashes: ranking Australian TV’s cricket commentators”. But it’s likely that the blunder didn’t go down without a guffaw or two – especially from the TV commentators themselves, we’re sure.
A few months ago, Facebook announced that they’ve bought over popular instant online messaging platform, WhatsApp. The exact acquisition was $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in stock (8.5% of the company) plus $3 billion in restricted shares. It was perhaps one of the biggest business news of February 2014. Naturally, BBC being BBC, would be one of the first to announce it:
Perhaps it was really early in the morning for the writer or maybe it was scheduled somewhere late into the night before but the slip of the finger distorted the message altogether. Or should we say, “massage”? BBC sent out the correction half an hour later but smartphone and tablet users (who had the alerts on their lockscreen on) were immediately drawn to the headlines.
No real harm done, just a joy to wake up to.
The Associated Press (AP)
Just last night, AP tweeted a major blooper (which could’ve been easily avoided) to their 3.4 million followers on Twitter. This comes from a personal experience as we were “watching” in happen live. In fact, it happened right before malaysiakini tweeted about the TransAsia Airways flight #GE222 crash in Taiwan so you can imagine our shock horror when we saw this (refer to the bottom tweet):
It received serious backlash from Twitterverse with some hurling less-than-nice things at the trusted news source because it was coming too soon after Malaysia Airlines #MH17’s ill-fated flight. The use of commas here is very, very important i.e. “BREAKING: Dutch military plane, carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash, lands in Eindhoven”.
Also, we reckon the word “BREAKING” before the tweet must’ve made the entire statement a whole lot more dramatic than first intended. Put the two and two together and there you have it.
Bonus: American Air
Alright, this one didn’t come from a trusted news source’s social media anything neither was it a typo per se. It is, however, still a massive blunder. Some companies’ Twitter accounts are so hard to manage due the sheer number of followers and the volume of tweets received daily, that they’ve resorted to “robo-tweets”, which are basically auto-responders. Imagine one customer’s amusement when this happened:
The robo-tweet was immediately deleted after the airline noticed the “whoopsie!” they made and then engaged a
person human to reply, “Please let us know if we can help in any way.” Ahh. Much better, no?
So, that’s all we’ve got for now. We’ll add more to the list as and when we come across ’em. Do you have any that you’d like us to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!