Coffee giant Starbucks is said to be considering leaving Facebook over the “negative/insensitive, hate speech-related comments” it receives on its posts about social justice issues.
BuzzFeed News reports that frustration with such comments has reached a point that it may remove its page.
The report is based on internal discussions seen by the outlet that were written by Facebook employees who manage the platform’s relationship with the world’s largest coffee company.
“Starbucks is in the process of evaluating their organic presence on FB, and whether they should continue to have a presence on the platform at all,” a Facebook employee wrote.
“Anytime they post (organically) in regards to social issues or their mission & values work (e.g. BLM, LGBTQ, sustainability/climate change, etc.) they are overwhelmed by negative/insensitive, hate speech related comments on their posts.”
The same employee said that the coffee company’s team responsible for community management has struggled to moderate hateful comments and cannot disable them.
Were Starbucks to leave the platform, it would not be the first company to do so, but it would be by far the largest.
Elon Musk removed the pages of SpaceX and Tesla in 2018, as part of a campaign to “#DeleteFacebook” during the Cambridge Analytica scandal relating to privacy online and data collection.
Both companies kept their presence on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, but have not returned to the main platform.
In 2020, Starbucks joined hundreds of other companies in the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign that saw them cease advertising on Facebook to push for a tougher stance against hateful and racist content.
Starbucks spokesperson Sanja Gould would not confirm if the company was considering removing its Facebook page, but told Buzzfeed in a statement that the coffee corporation stands “against hate speech”.
“While some changes have been implemented, we believe more can be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities,” she said about Facebook.
“We work collaboratively with all companies we do business with to ensure any advertising done on our behalf is in alignment with our brand standards.”
Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever told BuzzFeed that Facebook offers “tools to limit this content from appearing on partners’ pages including ways for brands to control those who can comment on their posts”.
She added: “Our teams work with our clients around the world on various issues and as this post shows we are working with them to keep hate off of their pages.”