Today, someone awesome tweeted me a free coffee!

Yay, coffee!

Better than that, free Starbucks coffee!

I went to the page, which was through the program Starbucks came up with called @tweetacoffee.

Seemed like an awesome idea, until I read the requirements.

Here is what I saw:


Let’s review for a second.

So in addition to getting some personal information from me, I also grant Starbucks the right to update my profile and send out tweets from my account?

That has to be a typo. Maybe this doesn’t mean what it looks like, but the Washington Post wrote, “both the sender and the recipient of tweeted coffees have to grant Starbucks broad access to their Twitter accounts, including the ability to post tweets.” I allow Instagram to connect to my Twitter account but not post on their own from my Twitter account. That’s very different.

Can you imagine if a business said to you, “We’ll give you $0 to be able to update your Twitter profile anyway we want. And we’ll also be able to send out tweets.” (The friend pays for the coffee. Starbucks gave out free coffee to the first 100,000 sign ups but it’s a paid service now.)

I have 188,000 followers. That’s a pretty sweet deal for Starbucks. They charge someone $5 for a coffee they want to give a friend. Then they get access to 188,000 people! Even if you have 100 followers, that’s a sweet deal.

Why isn’t anyone talking about this? PBS mentioned the problem in their article but Mashable didn’t even comment on the massive amounts of data Starbucks is taking for the price of a free coffee. (Maybe the trick is to get the free coffee and then delete their access lightning fast? That could make sense. But know this, the reason companies do mail-in rebates is that most people instantly forget to take the necessary steps to mail it in or in this case delete the access to your Twitter account.)

Someone please tell me I am completely misreading this situation.

I love Starbucks and am going to assume that I am completely misreading their terms and conditions which say, “By linking your accounts, you authorize Starbucks to access your Twitter account and post on Twitter on your behalf.”

One of two things is happening:

1. They get to send out tweets whenever. (Boo!)

2. They get to send out the one tweet about the free coffee. (No big deal, free coffee!)

Which one do you think it is?