Starbucks Threatens to Abandon Facebook

Buzzfeed has a story that is perhaps unintentionally revealing. Facebook documents leaked to that outlet indicate that Facebook is trying to assuage Starbucks’ ire at “hate speech” the company is encountering on the social media platform:

Facebook is scrambling to prevent Starbucks from leaving its platform after the world’s largest coffee company said it was dismayed by hateful comments left on its posts about racial and social justice issues.

In internal discussions seen by BuzzFeed News, Facebook employees who manage the social network’s relationship with Starbucks wrote that the company has become so frustrated by the hate and intolerance on the platform that it may remove its Facebook page.
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[A Facebook employee wrote:] “Any time 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.”

That suggests that there are a lot of people who like coffee but don’t like “BLM, LGBTQ, sustainability/climate change, etc.” dished up with their beverages. But what are we talking about here? There is an obvious difference between “negative” speech and “hate speech.” The most interesting thing to me is that none of the comments cited by Buzzfeed can rationally be described as “hate speech,” “racist”–another claim made by Starbucks–or otherwise objectionable. These are the comments cited in the article:

[Starbucks posted:] “During Black History Month, we’ll be amplifying Black voices, highlighting Starbucks partners (employees) who are inspired by purpose, family and entrepreneurship, encouraging us all to keep moving forward.”

“You mean you will be censoring posts that don’t fit your narrative.. Ok, see how that works out for you,” one person replied. “I love starbucks actually but your post has nothing to do with COFFEE!”
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When the company spoke of its support of Black Lives Matter last June, commenters demanded respect for police officers. When Starbucks posted in support of Asian Americans on March 17, the day after six Asian Americans were shot and killed in spas in the Atlanta area, commenters insisted the attack was not motivated by race.

“Wasn’t about race…sorry! You know white people of European decent, are targeted constantly, every day!!!!” one person wrote.

The commenter was correct.

“Y’all still stand with plain old Americans? Or just minorities who identify to create a narrative?” said another.

Good question, in the minds of most Americans. Buzzfeed cited one more comment:

“Until I see ALL LIVES MATTER I will not be buying any more Starbucks! I was a regular customer. Brought my kids even my dogs. But now it’s about an agenda. Cheers,” said one comment on the video.

It is certainly possible that offensive comments were posted on the Starbucks Facebook page. Offensive comments are by no means rare anywhere on the internet, with most coming from “woke” leftists. But based on the selection printed by Buzzfeed, it seems that something else is mostly going on here.

Starbucks executives likely live in a bubble in which they believe that pretty much everyone goes along with their left-wing “BLM, LGBTQ, sustainability/climate change, etc.” agenda. In fact, most Americans don’t. Hearing from normal customers apparently caused such cognitive dissonance that Starbucks may choose to retreat further into its bubble.

That is unfortunate, but probably not untypical of what is going on across much of big business.

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