Starbucks' #SpreadTheCheer Hashtag Backfires As Twitter Users Attack Coffee Giant

PAN Media

December 18, 2012

This post originally appeared on

A Starbucks Twitter campaign just went embarrassingly wrong.

The coffee giant recently asked customers to tweet out some holiday cheer, using the hashtag "#SpreadTheCheer." What the company instead received was a slew of tweets using the hashtag to criticize Starbucks' low tax rates and labor policies in the United Kindom, according to the Telegraph. What's worse, the critical and at times profanity-laced tweets were displayed on a giant screen at London’s Natural History museum, where the company sponsors the ice rink.

In an email to The Huffington Post, a Starbucks spokesperson apologized to any visitors of the ice rink “who may have been offended by inappropriate messages” displayed on the screen, noting that a “temporary malfunction” with their Twitter filtering system allowed the inappropriate tweets to leak through.

“As a family-friendly, responsible company we are committed to ensuring that our publicly displayed content is appropriate for all audiences and profanity filters have been in constant operation since the ice rink opened in November,” the email continued. “We will continue to work closely with the twitter wall moderator to ensure that all content is consistently reviewed before published.”

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