Beginning in 2019, Starbucks will start blocking customers from streaming inappropriate content, like porn, over in-store WiFi.
The company will add a new tool to prevent customers from viewing explicit content in stores, Business Insider reported last Thursday. “While watching pornography is banned at Starbucks locations, the chain does not currently have content blockers on its WiFi service,” according to Business Insider.
"To ensure the Third Place remains safe and welcoming to all, we have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our US locations in 2019," a Starbucks representative said in an email to Business Insider.
The ban comes after growing pressure from internet-safety advocacy group Enough is Enough. A petition from the non-profit has over 26,000 signatures pushing for the ban. Other brands, like McDonald’s, reacted quickly when the porn-free campaign began in 2014. McDonald’s added a WiFi filtering tool across its 14,000 U.S. stores in 2016. Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread have also faced similar issues and implemented policies to prevent customers from streaming porn while using in-store WiFi.
The non-profit’s CEO Donna Rice Hughes said in a statement Starbucks was "in active discussions with organizations on implementing the right, broad-based solution that would remove any illegal and other egregious content," back in 2016. It seemed like Starbucks would be taking some sort of action to change and filter content available over WiFi in 2016, however, those efforts seemed to take longer than Enough is Enough had hoped for.
"Starbucks has had a tremendous opportunity to put its best foot forward in protecting its customers from images deemed obscene and illegal under the law, but they haven't budged, despite their promise two years ago and despite the fact that they voluntarily filter this same content in the UK," Hughes said in the statement.
After the news of the ban broke last week, YouPorn, a free pornographic site, responded by banning all Starbucks products in company offices starting on January 1, 2019.