Starbucks weighs quitting Facebook over hateful comments: report

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Coffee giant Starbucks is reportedly weighing whether to leave Facebook over a deluge of hateful comments the company has gotten in response to its woke posts on the platform.

BuzzFeed News obtained internal Facebook discussions in which employees wrote that Starbucks may take down its Facebook page, which has more than 36 million followers, because the company’s so frustrated by the response it’s gotten to its posts about social issues.

“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 to their colleagues last week, according to BuzzFeed.

“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 added that Starbucks has struggled to moderate hateful responses to its posts and is unable to disable comments on their page, BuzzFeed reported.

Starbucks also questioned how the social media giant’s algorithms moderate or amplify comments on posts, the outlet said, citing an internal Facebook memo.

If Starbucks were to pull their Facebook page, the $135-billion company would be among the largest companies ever to depart the platform. 

Representatives for Starbucks did not immediately return the Post’s request for comment. It’s not clear if the company’s concerns extend to Instagram — which is owned by Facebook — or how seriously it’s considering pulling its Facebook account.

In a statement to BuzzFeed, a Starbucks spokesperson said the company stands “against hate speech,” but did not confirm if the company is considering removing its Facebook page.

“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.

“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.”

A spokesperson for Facebook said in a statement to the Post that the BuzzFeed article demonstrates how the company works with its partners “to keep hate off of their pages.”

“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.”

While Starbucks would be among the biggest companies to pull its page, it wouldn’t be the first.

Elon Musk removed the SpaceX and Tesla Facebook pages in 2018 as part of the #DeleteFacebook campaign. The companies have kept their Instagram accounts active, but the Facebook pages were never reactivated on the platform.

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