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Facebook Is Worried Starbucks May Delete Its Page Over Hateful Comments

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Facebook is scrambling to prevent Starbucks from leaving its platform after the world’s largest coffee company said it was dismayed by hateful comments left on its posts about racial and social justice issues.

In internal discussions seen by BuzzFeed News, Facebook employees who manage the social network’s relationship with Starbucks wrote that the company has become so frustrated by the hate and intolerance on the platform that it may remove its Facebook page. Were Starbucks to do so, it would be one of the largest companies ever to sever ties with Facebook.

“Starbucks is in the process of evaluating their organic presence on FB, and whether they should continue to have a presence on the platform at all,” a Facebook employee wrote to their colleagues earlier this week. “Anytime they post (organically) in regards to social issues or their mission & values work (e.g. BLM, LGBTQ, sustainability/climate change, etc.) they are overwhelmed by negative/insensitive, hate speech related comments on their posts.”

The employee went on to note that Starbucks’s community management team has struggled to moderate hateful responses and is unable to disable comments on their page. They also relayed a series of questions from Starbucks management, which sought to understand how Facebook’s algorithms moderated or amplified comments on posts.

Starbucks’s reevaluation of its Facebook presence comes amid a wider reckoning of the hate and misinformation that continues to proliferate on the platform. Last week in the United Kingdom, the Premier League and its 20 associated soccer teams boycotted Facebook and its photo-sharing app, Instagram, for four days in an attempt to bring awareness to the constant racist abuse that players face on those platforms. Last year, Starbucks was one of hundreds of companies to stop advertising on Facebook as part of the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, which sought to pressure the world’s largest social network into taking a harder stance on racist and hateful content.

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Starbucks spokesperson Sanja Gould would not confirm if the company was considering removing its Facebook page, but said in a statement that the coffee corporation stands “against hate speech.”

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“While some changes have been implemented, we believe more can be done to create welcoming and inclusive online communities,” she said about Facebook in a statement. “We work collaboratively with all companies we do business with to ensure any advertising done on our behalf is in alignment with our brand standards.”

In a statement, Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever said that Facebook offers “tools to limit this content from appearing on partners’ pages including ways for brands to control those who can comment on their posts.”

“Our teams work with our clients around the world on various issues and as this post shows we are working with them to keep hate off of their pages,” she said.

While plenty of companies have paused advertising on Facebook to make a statement, those moves have done little to dent a business that, even after the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, recorded a record $86 billion in revenue in 2020.

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Do you work at Facebook or another technology company? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out to ryan.mac@buzzfeed.com or via one of our tip line channels.

In 2018, amid privacy scandals and a #DeleteFacebook campaign supported by Brian Acton, a cofounder of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Elon Musk took down the Facebook pages for his companies Tesla and SpaceX. To date, Musk’s companies have remained off Facebook but still maintain Instagram accounts.

Jim Steyer, the CEO of Common Sense Media, one of the organizations behind the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, called last year’s boycott effective only in the short term. Noting that Facebook was in some ways “too big to boycott,” he saw Starbucks’s possible pullout as a harbinger of other companies reconsidering their relationships with social media.

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“This will be a day of reckoning for Facebook, and Starbucks is just one example of a company that is dealing with the fallout of their decisions, or lack thereof,” he said.

While Starbucks has faced previous criticism for prohibiting its employees from showing support for Black Lives Matter, the company regularly posts about social justice issues on its Facebook page. Those posts, however, have become a honeypot for angry, and sometimes racist, followers who don’t agree with the company’s positions on political and social matters.

“We have been and continue to remove comments and users who post racist comments and attacks against the Black community,” Starbucks wrote under a Feb. 1 post that quoted a Black employee discussing her Breonna Taylor memorial. “During Black History Month, we’ll be amplifying Black voices, highlighting Starbucks partners (employees) who are inspired by purpose, family and entrepreneurship, encouraging us all to keep moving forward.”

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“You mean you will be censoring posts that don’t fit your narrative.. Ok, see how that works out for you,” one person replied. “I love starbucks actually but your post has nothing to do with COFFEE!”

Other posts about racism received similar responses. When the company spoke of its support of Black Lives Matter last June, commenters demanded respect for police officers. When Starbucks posted in support of Asian Americans on March 17, the day after six Asian Americans were shot and killed in spas in the Atlanta area, commenters insisted the attack was not motivated by race.

“Wasn’t about race…sorry! You know white people of European decent, are targeted constantly, everyday!!!!” one person wrote.

“Y’all still stand with plain old Americans? Or just minorities who identify to create a narrative?” said another.

On June 25 last year, Starbucks posted a video in support of LGBTQ allies. In it, queer employees call and thank people in their lives who supported them as they grappled with their identity and coming out. Some comments were positive and expressed support, but others berated the coffee chain.

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“Until I see ALL LIVES MATTER I will not be buying any more Starbucks ! I was a regular a customer . Brought my kids even my dogs . But now it’s about an agenda . Cheers,” said one comment on the video.

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Three days later, Starbucks announced it would pause advertising across social media, including on Facebook, in a bid to “stand against hate speech.” It ended in September after the coffee chain said in a blog post that it had “spent the last two months in meaningful discussions with key internal and external stakeholders to help [Starbucks] create a principled approach to our demands of the social media industry.”

The company wrote, “We will hold our media partners accountable to the commitments they have made and will reserve the right to revisit our ad placement strategy to ensure continued progress towards a more civil online environment.”

At Facebook, some who work with Starbucks’s social media team fear the company may move beyond pulling its ads and remove its page completely. According to Starbucks’s annual report, it spent more than $258 million in advertising globally last year.

Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change, a civil rights organization, said he was encouraged by the idea that Starbucks would leave but noted that change won’t happen just “by corporations stopping advertising.” He called for lawmakers to act and impose laws to regulate the company.

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“I can see other companies joining Starbucks — but unless Facebook is accountable to a set of rules and standards, then their exit from Facebook won’t change Facebook,” Robinson said.

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Creating Apps with App Use Cases

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With the goal of making Meta’s app creation process easier for developers to create and customize their apps, we are announcing the rollout of an updated process using App Use Cases instead of the former product-focused process. App Use Cases will enable developers to quickly create apps by selecting the use case that best represents their reason for creating an app.

Currently, the product-focused app creation process requires developers to select an app type and individually request permission to API endpoints. After listening to feedback from developers saying this process was, at times, confusing and difficult to navigate, we’re updating our approach that’s based on App Use Cases. With App Use Cases, user permissions and features will be bundled with each use case so developers can now confidently select the right data access for their needs. This change sets developers up for success to create their app and navigate app review, ensuring they only get the exact data access they need to accomplish their goals.

Starting today Facebook Login will be the first use case to become available to developers. This will be the first of many use cases that will be built into the app creation process that will roll out continually in 2023. For more information please reference our Facebook Login documentation.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Understanding Authorization Tokens and Access for the WhatsApp Business Platform

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The WhatsApp Business Platform makes it easy to send WhatsApp messages to your customers and automate replies. Here, we’ll explore authentication using the Cloud API, hosted by Meta.

We’ll start with generating and using a temporary access token and then replace it with a permanent access token. This tutorial assumes you’re building a server-side application and won’t need additional steps to keep your WhatsApp application secrets securely stored.

Managing Access and Authorization Tokens

First, let’s review how to manage authorization tokens and safely access the API.

Prerequisites

Start by making sure you have a developer account on Meta for Developers. You’ll also need WhatsApp installed on a mobile device to send test messages to.

Creating an App

Before you can authenticate, you’ll need an application to authenticate you.

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Once you’re signed in, you see the Meta for Developers App Dashboard. Click Create App to get started.

Next, you’ll need to choose an app type. Choose Business.

After that, enter a display name for your application. If you have a business account to link to your app, select it. If not, don’t worry. The Meta for Developers platform creates a test business account you can use to experiment with the API. When done, click Create App.

Then, you’ll need to add products to your app. Scroll down until you see WhatsApp and click the Set up button:

Finally, choose an existing Meta Business Account or ask the platform to create a new one and click Continue:

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And with that, your app is created and ready to use. You’re automatically directed to the app’s dashboard.

Note that you have a temporary access token. For security reasons, the token expires in less than 24 hours. However, you can use it for now to test accessing the API. Later, we’ll cover how to generate a permanent access token that your server applications can use. Also, note your app’s phone number ID because you’ll need it soon.

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Click the dropdown under the To field, and then click Manage phone number list.

In the popup that appears, enter the phone number of a WhatsApp account to send test messages to.

Then, scroll further down the dashboard page and you’ll see an example curl call that looks similar to this:

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curl -i -X POST https://graph.facebook.com/v13.0//messages -H 'Authorization: Bearer ' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{ "messaging_product": "whatsapp", "to": "", "type": "template", "template": { "name": "hello_world", "language": { "code": "en_US" } } }'

Note that the Meta for Developers platform inserts your app’s phone number ID and access token instead of the and placeholders shown above. If you have curl installed, paste the command into your terminal and run it. You should receive a “hello world” message in WhatsApp on your test device.

If you’d prefer, you can convert the curl request into an HTTP request in your programming language by simply creating a POST request that sets the Authorization and Content-Type headers as shown above, including the JSON payload in the request body.

Since this post is about authentication, let’s focus on that. Notice that you’ve included your app’s access token in the Authorization header. For any request to the API, you must set the Authorization header to Bearer .

Remember that you must use your token instead of the placeholder. Using bearer tokens will be familiar if you’ve worked with JWT or OAuth2 tokens before. If you’ve never seen one before, a bearer token is essentially a random secret string that you, as the bearer of the token, can present to an API to prove you’re allowed to access it.

Failure to include this header causes the API to return a 401 Unauthorized response code.

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Creating a Permanent Access Token

Knowing that you need to use a bearer token in the Authorization header of an HTTP request is helpful, but it’s not enough. The only access token you’ve seen so far is temporary. Chances are that you want your app to access the API for more than 24 hours, so you need to generate a longer-lasting access token.

Fortunately, the Meta for Developers platform makes this easy. All you need to do is add a System User to your business account to obtain an access token you can use to continue accessing the API. To create a system user, do the following:

  • Go to Business Settings.

  • Select the business account your app is associated with.
  • Below Users, click System Users.
  • Click Add.
  • Name the system user, choose Admin as the user role, and click Create System User.
  • Select the whatsapp_business_messaging permission.
  • Click Generate New Token.
  • Copy and save your token.

Your access token is a random string of letters and numbers. Now, try re-running the earlier request using the token you just created instead of the temporary one:

curl -i -X POST https://graph.facebook.com/v13.0//messages -H 'Authorization: Bearer ' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d '{ "messaging_product": "whatsapp", "to": "", "type": "template", "template": { "name": "hello_world", "language": { "code": "en_US" } } }'

Your test device should receive a second hello message sent via the API.

Best Practices for Managing Access Tokens

It’s important to remember that you should never embed an App Access Token in a mobile or desktop application. These tokens are only for use in server-side applications that communicate with the API. Safeguard them the same way you would any other application secrets, like your database credentials, as anyone with your token has access to the API as your business.

If your application runs on a cloud services provider like AWS, Azure, GCP, or others, those platforms have tools to securely store app secrets. Alternatively there are freely-available secret stores like Vault or Conjur. While any of these options may work for you, it’s important to evaluate your options and choose what works best for your setup. At the very least, consider storing access tokens in environment variables and not in a database or a file where they’re easy to find during a data breach.

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Conclusion

In this post, you learned how to create a Meta for Developers app that leverages the WhatsApp Business Platform. You now know how the Cloud API’s bearer access tokens work, how to send an access token using an HTTP authorization header, and what happens if you send an invalid access token. You also understand the importance of keeping your access tokens safe since an access token allows an application to access a business’ WhatsApp messaging capabilities.

Why not try using the Cloud API, hosted by Meta if you’re considering building an app for your business to manage WhatsApp messaging? Now that you know how to obtain and use access tokens, you can use them to access any endpoint in the API.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Now people can share directly to Instagram Reels from some of their favorite apps

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More people are creating, sharing and watching Reels than ever before. We’ve seen the creator community dive deeply into video content – and use it to connect with their communities. We’re running a limited alpha test that lets creators share video content directly from select integrated apps to Instagram Reels. Now, creators won’t be interrupted in their workflow, making it easier for them share share and express themselves on Reels.

“With the shift to video happening across almost all online platforms, our innovative tools and services empower creativity and fuel the creator economy and we are proud to be able to offer a powerful editing tool like Videoleap that allows seamless content creation, while partnering with companies like Meta to make sharing content that much easier.”- Zeev Farbman, CEO and co-founder of Lightricks.

Starting this month, creators can share short videos directly to Instagram Reels from some of their favorite apps, including Videoleap, Reface, Smule, VivaVideo, SNOW, B612, VITA and Zoomerang, with more coming soon. These apps and others also allow direct sharing to Facebook , which is available for any business with a registered Facebook App to use.

We hope to expand this test to more partners in 2023. If you’re interested in being a part of that beta program, please fill out this form and we will keep track of your submission. We do not currently have information to share about general availability of this integration.

Learn more here about sharing Stories and Reels to Facebook and Instagram and start building today.

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FAQs

Q. What is the difference between the Instagram Content Publishing API and Instagram Sharing to Reels?

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A: Sharing to Reels is different from the Instagram Content Publishing API, which allows Instagram Business accounts to schedule and publish posts to Instagram from third-party platforms. Sharing to Reels is specifically for mobile apps to display a ‘Share to Reels’ widget. The target audience for the Share to Reels widget is consumers, whereas the Content Publishing API is targeted towards businesses, including third-party publishing platforms such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social that consolidate sharing to social media platforms within their third-party app.

Q: Why is Instagram partnering with other apps?

A: Creators already use a variety of apps to create and edit videos before uploading them to Instagram Reels – now we’re making that experience faster and easier. We are currently doing a small test of an integration with mobile apps that creators know and love, with more coming soon.

Q: How can I share my video from another app to Reels on Instagram?

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A: How it works (Make sure to update the mobile app you’re using to see the new Share to Reels option):

  • Create and edit your video in one of our partner apps
  • Once your video is ready, tap share and then tap the Instagram Reels icon
  • You will enter the Instagram Camera, where you can customize your reel with audio, effects, Voiceover and stickers. Record any additional clips or swipe up to add an additional clip from your camera roll.
  • Tap ‘Next’ to add a caption, hashtag, location, tag others or use the paid partnerships label.
  • Tap ‘Share’. Your reel will be visible where you share reels today, depending on your privacy settings.
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Q: How were partners selected?

A. We are currently working with a small group of developers that focus on video creation and editing as early partners. We’ll continue to expand to apps with other types of creation experiences.

Q: When will other developers be able to access Sharing to Reels on Instagram?

A: We do not currently have a date for general availability, but are planning to expand further in 2023.

Q: Can you share to Facebook Reels from other apps?

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A: Yes, Facebook offers the ability for developers to integrate with Sharing to Reels. For more information on third-party sharing opportunities, check out our entire suite of sharing offerings .

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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