Facebook "unfriends" coal

In the age of social networking, for-profit organisations have to be aware of the fact that non-profit organisations like Greenpeace can easily impose a moral leverage that may require careful communication strategies and even policy changes.


  1. Useful background article to understand the issue:
  2. The campaign started in February 2010 after Facebook announced the building of two new data centres in California and Oregon. 
  3. The campaign started off with a YouTube-Video and frequent posting on Greenpeace's Facebook site:
  4. Greenpeace made it very easy and convenient for its supporters to spread the word. For example, a ready-made link could be easily shared on Facebook with your friends within seconds.
  5. Take Action Join our Facebook group and help us get the social networking website to go green. Share this article on Facebook
  6. The campaign's suggestions for how you can get involved? Read about the issue on their site and add your email address to their newsletter subscriber list are the only tangible “action ideas” readily visable, but I do both of those things and in a few minutes I have an email that says I should forward itself to my friends, and an email from “Eoin and the Cool IT team” that says I should send Mark Zuckerberg a Facebook message.  [sample email given] Hey Zuck! I love Facebook and use it all the time, but what's up with this coal business? Haven’t you heard of climate change? A BIG company like Facebook can really benefit by going green. I hope you can make the right energy choices to save the planet and your millions of friendships. PEACE
  7. Universities, one of the main supporter groups of Greenpeace, spread the word.
  8. Ostry and ELAN continue to distribute information and slips of paper with instructions for students to call Facebook and deliver the message that Ithaca College wants the social network to use a cleaner source of energy. “They have a little rap that students can read to Facebook answering machines that encourage Facebook to go green,” Ostry said. Ostry said the purpose of the speech bubbles is for students to take photographs with them and make these photographs their profile pictures. Ostry said this sends a visual message to Mark Zuckerberg, one of the creators of Facebook, saying the college wants to see a change.
  9. The dedicated campaign page on Facebook by Greenpeace, "Unfriend coal" (18.01.2011), amasses more than 700,000 followers during the campaign (now about 183,000) and raises awareness on an international level.
  10. Over 700,000supporters around the world! It is reported that over 700,000 people have joined the Unfriend Coal campaign to date. Since the campaign launch in February 2010, supporters have signed up to join via Facebook Groups in their own languages (ES, EN, FR, NL, DE), and Facebook Apps. For Greenpeace supporters who aren't active Facebook users GreenPeace also had signup pages and a campaign mailing list on our website.
  11. On the 13th of April 2011, the campaign set the world record for the most commented post on Facebook in 24 hours (although, to be honest, most of them don't really make sense).
  12. Greenpeace picked special dates, like the Earth Day (22th of April) or the 7th birthday of Facebook to reinforce the campaign. The overall communication strategy was to be friendly, but encouraging. Boycott messages are hardly found.
  13. Please spread this image around Facebook today ...
    Please spread this image around Facebook today ...
  14. If they don't go for this. I am out of here.
  15. We are wating for you Mark Zuckerberg... The users of your social network we demand the use of renewable energy. Somee day in the future your children will thank you. But now begin with us.And of course, happy birthday (green) Facebook! :o)
  16. A photo competition added more awareness. 
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  18. Greenpeace regularly framed the discussion around Facebook in their posts, thus giving guidelines in regard to emotions and actions for their supporter base.