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"Starbucks Sean" Is Going Viral After Coffee Chain Makes Embarrassing Error

Starbucks customers noticed something off about a recent app notification.
FACT CHECKED BY Meaghan Cameron

It's not uncommon to receive notifications from your favorite restaurant chains about new menu items, rewards, and enticing promotions. But if any Starbucks customers felt like a recent notification from the coffee chain wasn't intended for their eyes, they're not mistaken.

Starbucks customers began reporting yesterday morning that they had received an accidental test notification sent out via the brand's app that read: "Hello test1 from seank."

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Both the message and its apparent author almost immediately turned into an embarrassing viral phenomenon for the company, with "Starbucks Sean" gaining enough traction to become a trending topic on Twitter Tuesday morning. Confused customers have flooded various social media platforms—including Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit—with screenshots of the notification and their theories about what led to it being released. Many notification recipients have also poked fun at Starbucks over the mistake.

"Hey @Starbucks! Tell Sean K his alert was received," one Twitter user wrote jokingly.

"A bad day to be Sean K at Starbucks," another tweeted.

Sean K's identity and exact role at the company have not yet been uncovered, but many sympathetic Starbucks customers urged the chain against firing whoever was responsible for the error. Some were even charmed by the cryptic yet amusing message.

"Hey ⁦@Starbucks⁩ , Sean K deserves a raise for making me chuckle," one customer tweeted.

"As someone who has made this mistake before, let's send Sean some coffee and egg bites to make them feel better, @Starbucks," another tweeted.

Not all Starbucks customers took the notification lightly, however. Some voiced concerns that a data breach or hackers were behind the strange notification. But the company has already responded to the viral notification to ease concerns about the integrity of its app and customer data.

"Earlier today, some customers received a test notification from the Starbucks app in error. This was not caused by a data breach," a Starbucks spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge. It was not immediately clear just how many Starbucks customers received the message.

This is not the only recent instance where Starbucks has received some major attention on social media. Many Starbucks customers were devastated to learn earlier this month that the popular raspberry syrup was being discontinued, and weren't shy about sharing their thoughts about the decision on Twitter and TikTok. The chain's announcement in February that it was launching a new line of olive-oil-infused coffees also sharply divided customers, some of whom were excited to try the drinks and others who were decidedly not excited.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe