More Starbucks stores to have content filters to block explicit sites

Starbucks has proposed to block porn sites from its free Wi-Fi in stores. According to several media outlets, the coffee giant will be introducing a new tool next year in its US stores, to block explicit sites, while avoiding accidental block on unoffensive sites.

This comes following the added pressure from internet-safety organisation called, Enough Is Enough (EIE). The EIE organisation claims that it did not see the change from Starbucks through its national campaign in 2016. To address the matter again, it had called for the public to sign a petition to filter pornography. Media outlets have reported that over 26,000 signatures have been recorded.

The national campaign was launched back in 2016, to urge major chains in the US to set up content filters. These include McDonald's and Chick-A-Fil which had already taken action on its public Wi-Fi. A Starbucks spokesperson said in 2016 addressing EIE that, the company is in the process of evaluating a global protocol to address this in all of its stores and is in discussions with organisations to implement the right, broad-based solution to remove illegal and egregious content.

"In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi, as part of our commitment to ensuring that our stores remain a safe and welcoming environment," the spokesperson added. Meanwhile, in the UK, Starbucks had already implemented a filter in its Wi-Fi to block out offensive content.

Marketing has reached out to Starbucks for comment around Asia.

Earlier this month, Starbucks was said to be laying off approximately 350 corporate employees. In a memo seen by Marketing at that time, CEO Kevin Johnson said that the decision was made after “careful consideration” across the company. While the decision was “incredibly difficult”, the job cuts came as a result of work that has been eliminated, deprioritised or shifting ways of working within the company.

The memo further added that these layoffs would “primarily affect” employees at its Seattle Support Center, and that Starbucks will handle each situation “with compassion and respect” for the impacted partners.

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