Recently, Nestle has been under fire from tech-savvy environmentalists over its use of palm oil in Kit Kat bars. On March 17th, Greenpeace released a report about Nestle’s palm oil use, staged a protest outside company headquarters, and posted a negative video on YouTube (not for the faint of heart), each asserting that Nestle bought palm oil from an Indonesian company that causes deforestation.
The YouTube video, which depicts an office worker opening a Kit Kat bar and finding an orangutan finger, ignited a full-scale social media war against Nestle, complete with vandalism of its Facebook page and an outpouring of angry tweets. In the wake of this outrage, Nestle tried to remove the video and Facebook posts, which only made things worse. Some marketing experts have even suggested that Nestle delete its Facebook page. Considering that Nestle only purchases 1.25% of its palm oil from the company in question, the online response has been huge.
In light of that response, we thought it would be interesting to use our technology to check out the online conversation surrounding the controversy. Here’s what we found:
21% of the conversation still supports Nestle. Most of these tweets, blog posts and forum comments attacked the credibility of Greenpeace’s evidence, while a few thought the YouTube video was just too shocking.
30% of the conversation is anti-Nestle. Conversation in this category focuses on increasing awareness of palm oil’s environmental impact, with several users calling for a boycott of Nestle products.
20% of the conversation thinks Nestle handled the situation poorly. Much of this conversation centers around Nestle’s ruined facebook page and advises that Nestle change its PR tactics, especially when it comes to social media.
12% of the conversation seeks more information about palm oil. These tweets and posts speculated about the real impact of palm oil and didn’t take a side. Many asked for more data and think that specific actions, like boycotts, are probably premature.
18% of the conversation commented on the powerful influence of social media. The overwhelming response online piqued the interests of many bloggers and tweeters. Many state that Nestle and other companies should pay more attention to social media and use this episode as a learning experience.