By: Konrad Holden
Facebook is once again getting in the way of freedom of speech. Starbucks has threatened to delete its Facebook page due to the continued struggle to moderate comments left on its posts. If the company does remove its page from Facebook, Starbucks will be one of the largest companies in the US not on the social media platform.
Starbucks has been playing the social justice warrior game on its Facebook page, and it is catching up with them. The coffee giant’s Facebook comments are continuously barraged by customers who do not like the company’s position on many social issues.
The backlash from the comment section, deemed “hate and intolerance,” has made it difficult for Starbucks to manage its social media presence. Now, they are looking to Facebook for help. Facebook has a history of censoring conservative opinions, and Starbucks has demanded that they take similar action toward their commenters.
According to internal Facebook discussions reported by BuzzFeedNews, “anytime [Starbucks] post[s] (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.”
Instead of listening to their audience, Starbucks has threatened to leave the platform altogether, taking their advertising budget with them.
This latest action is no doubt an attempt by large corporations to force Big Tech to curb free speech on their platforms. And it may be working.
Fearing the loss of Starbucks’ marketing dollars, Facebook is scrambling to appease the giant company and dissuade other companies from leaving their site.
Another recent internal Facebook communication said, “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.”
Threats like this from Starbucks could force Facebook to decide if it will curb free speech on its platform or risk losing its biggest, most woke advertisers.
“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 their pages.” - Dani Lever, Facebook spokesperson
“While some changes have been implemented, we believe more can be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities.” - Sanja Gould, Starbucks spokesperson