Fonterra commits Facebook suicide
Saturday 30 Oct 2010 5:51 p.m.
By Samantha Hayes
Greenpeace says Fonterra has committed Facebook suicide because it was unable to answer questions posted on the site about its palm kernel feed.
But Fonterra has countered "they've never had an official Facebook page" and it doesn't know who was running the one that was bombed with questions.
On the Facebook page there have been many comments that urge the dairy producer to stop importing palm kernel.
“There's been thousands of people sending messages to Fonterra demanding they cease the use of palm kernel and the comments on the Facebook page have been along those lines, people are rightly outraged,” says Greenpeace campaigner Steve Abel.
Greenpeace supporters even posted a video on the page, a spoof of a Fonterra advertisement that links its milk with the death of endangered orangutans in Indonesia.
The videos were quickly removed and Greenpeace says that's proof Fonterra was monitoring the Facebook site.
But the dairy giant denies this and says when it finally notified Facebook, months after the rogue site appeared, the page was shut down.
Fonterra didn't want to appear for interview, so 3 News asked social media expert Justin Flitter how he thought it should have responded.
“You need to own your brand in the social media space and you need to control that when these sites pop up that aren't you, you need to deal with them pretty quickly,” Mr Flitter says.
However this is not the first time a large corporation has run into social media strife.
Nestle's use of palm oil in it's products people caused people to bombard the Nestle Facebook fan page to express their outrage. A flustered response from Nestle with comments like "it's our page, we set the rules," caused a PR disaster.
Nestle caved, and changed its policies to prevent deforestation which suggests the questioning is far from over for Fonterra.
Palm kernel is not yet certified as sustainable and audits for all its source plantations will be carried out over the next four years.