Nestlé faces Facebook crisis over Greenpeace rainforest allegations

Nestlé has struggled to contain a barrage of criticism from angry consumers on Twitter and its official Facebook page.

Facing criticism: Nestlé
Facing criticism: Nestlé

Members of the public have taken to both social media sites to criticise the confectionery giant, following reports that it is continuing to source palm oil from Sinar Mas, an Indonesian company accused of illegal deforestation of rainforests.

Greenpeace sparked the reports by posting an online video earlier this weekthat featured an office worker accidently biting into an orangutan finger instead of a Kit Kat. The video aimed to draw attention to the NGO's ongoing battle with Nestle (which owns the Kit Kat brand) over its supply chain.

On Twitter, the firm has been bombarded with critical comments. Consumers have also turned to Facebook and accused the company of ‘hiding behind PR spin', calling the company's response to the criticism a ‘major social media fail'.

Digital PR experts said the situation was quickly becoming a social media crisis.

Porter Novelli associate director, digital, Kerry Gaffney said: ‘Nestle's status updates are pushing people on to its official site to see its corporate response. Someone within Nestle is also responding to posts, but they are not corporate in tone and are juvenile. The company should be tailoring its response more to the environment with a more human tone.'

A Nestle employee was initially responding to criticisms but appears to have stopped responding on the Facebook page.

She added: ‘The person responding for Nestle seems to be junior. In future they need look at the person who is responsible for monitoring the page and use someone more senior.'

The criticism has also spilled over on to Twitter, with users Tweeting Nestle's Facebook page and encouraging people to go on to see the comments posted online.

Gaffney added: ‘Nestle could do a round-up of three or four of the key issues that have been raised and address them. It should also do a video and post it on YouTube to address the topics. If it is brave enough it should do it in response to the Greenpeace video.'

PRWeek revealed earlier this year that Nestle was looking to appoint an agency to help monitor online opinion of the brand.

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