Nestlé has abandoned its Facebook page to the mercy of protesters following a Greenpeace campaign against the food giant.

Thousands of users have swamped Nestlé's Facebook portal to comment on the Greenpeace campaign, which launched last week.

The environmental organisation claimed Nestlé sourced palm oil from Indo­nesian company Sinar Mas, which has been linked to illegally destroying rainforests, the natural habitat of orang-utans.

Nestlé initially deleted comments, claiming they contained logos that infringed copyright. The company also came under fire after a member of its staff responded to comments sarcastically.

The company has since effectively abandoned the site.

"We will return to our corporate Facebook page when we can have a calm, rational dialogue with our followers, whether critical or supportive," Nestlé said.

Nestlé would have to tread carefully, warned Brand Forensics founder Jonathan Gabay: "Kit Kat is not the first brand to be targeted by Greenpeace, but in the past there wasn't necessarily the social media around for people to react so quickly."

Greenpeace said a viral film for the campaign, featuring an office worker eating a Kit Kat that turns out to be an orang-utan's finger, had been watched by more than 600,000 people.

Nestlé said it does not buy palm oil directly from Sinar Mas, though it does buy it through Cargill, which uses Sinar Mas.

Read more
Greenpeace points finger at Nestlé over palm oil policies (27 March 2010)
Nestlé battles Greenpeace over Kit Kat palm oil claim (18 March 2010)