Starbucks is considering leaving Facebook over deluge of hateful comments on social justice posts

Facebook says it has implemented technologies to combat hateful content on its platform

Graig Graziosi
Monday 10 May 2021 20:59 BST
Starbucks will give all its US employees a pay raise of at least 10 per cent next month, the firm has confirmed
Starbucks will give all its US employees a pay raise of at least 10 per cent next month, the firm has confirmed (AFP via Getty Images)

Coffee retailer Starbucks is reportedly considering leaving Facebook after the company faced a deluge of negative comments on the company's posts supporting social justice causes.

BuzzFeed News originally reported the company's potential departure from one of the world's largest social media platforms.

The outlet cites internal discussions among Facebook employees who handle the site's relationship with the 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 told BuzzFeed News.

The employee said that the company regularly faces harsh backlash anytime it makes a post concerning social or environmental justice issues.

“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 employee said.

Starbucks would not confirm to BuzzFeed that it was considering leaving the social media platform, but did say it was "against hate speech."

“While some changes have been implemented, we believe more can be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities,” the spokesperson told BuzzFeed about Facebook.

Like most companies, Starbucks primarily uses social media to post about its products and advertise promotions. However, the coffee company also regularly posts about societal issues that include climate change, anti-Asian violence in the US and the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.

If Starbucks leaves Facebook, it would be the largest company to ever pull its presence off the platform. However, it would not be the first notable company to do so, as Elon Musk's Tesla and SpaceX pages were pulled from the site in 2018 during the #DeleteFacebook campaign.

Starbucks pulled its advertising from Facebook last year during the "Stop Hate for Profit" campaign, which was aimed at pressuring Facebook to take a harder stance against hateful and extremist content.

Facebook told BuzzFeed that it had implemented technologies to combat hateful content.

“We don’t want hate on our platform and neither do our partners,” the spokesperson said. “We have invested in technologies to take down hate speech, and we proactively detect 97 percent of what we remove. We also offer tools to limit this content from appearing on partners’ pages including ways for brands to control those who can comment on their posts.”

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