Earlier this week, reader Jorvay sent over the news of how food giant Nestle had massively overreacted to an (admittedly disgusting) anti-Nestle video put together by Greenpeace and posted to YouTube. The thing was, this video was getting no attention
. It had less than 1,000 views... but someone who should have known better at Nestle filed a bogus copyright claim to take down the video
. There is no copyright issue in the video at all
, so it was a bogus takedown. Even if there had been a legit reason for the takedown, doing so only drew much
more attention to the issue, and the video quickly went back up on Vimeo, where it started getting even more views, a lot of which came because
of the takedown.
Okay, bad enough, right? I was going to post that story, but before I had the chance, Nestle decided to make things worse.
Because of all this new attention, a bunch of anti-Nestle people went to Nestle's Facebook group, and started posting messages that were certainly anti-Nestle. Now, there are lots
of ways to respond to such things. The one thing you don't
want to do is respond the way Nestle's "moderator" did. First, they threatened to delete comments
from anyone using a modified Nestle's logo, claiming that this infringed on trademarks (which is an interesting claim, but unlikely to hold up in court, where countless times the use of a logo in protest has been upheld). This resulted in some pointed responses from group members, such as "It's not OK for people to use altered versions of your logos, but it's OK for you to alter the face of Indonesian rainforests? Wow!"
Nestle then didn't do itself any favors by having its moderator respond sarcastically ("Oh please...it's like we're censoring everything to allow only positive comments") and then go with the foot stomping
response as well ("it's our page, we set the rules, it was ever thus.")
Eventually, Nestle admitted that it was wrong and apologized, promising that the moderator would be a lot friendlier. However, by then the damage had been done. An issue that very, very few people would have noticed turned into a huge ordeal thanks to repeated mistakes in handling them. The company attempted to stifle speech with both bogus copyright and trademark claims, and then when called on it failed to realize that it was only making things worse.