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Lush quits Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and Snapchat


This week the cosmetic retailer published its ‘Anti-Social Media Policy’. (SOPA Images)

We’ve all tried and failed to quit social media at some point.

After its failed 2019 attempt to quit social media, UK cosmetics brand Lush says it’s ‘finally had enough’ of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat.

Blaming its relapse on FOMO, the brand said that it was ready to ‘go cold (plant-based) turkey’ again.

This week the cosmetic retailer published its ‘Anti-Social Media Policy’, saying that it wants to connect with customers ‘as directly as possible’ – without the interaction being unduly controlled by third parties.

‘From 26th November 2021 we will be signing out from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp and TikTok, until these platforms can provide a safer environment for their users,’ said Lush’s chief digital officer, Jack Constantine.

He attributed the decision to ‘the latest information from courageous whistleblowers, which clearly lays out the known harms that young people are exposed to because of the current algorithms and loose regulation of this new area of our lives’.

This directly refers to Facebook (now known as Meta) whistleblower Frances Haugen, who claimed that the company put profit ahead of the public good.

The company likened social media to a ‘dark and dangerous alleyway’, calling them ‘places no one should be encouraged to go’.  

‘There is now overwhelming evidence we are being put at risk when using social media. I’m not willing to expose my customers to this harm,’ said Constantine.

Lush, which is credited with inventing bath bombs, said that its social media presence was counterintuitive to its efforts of inventing products to help people to unwind and look after themselves. 

Social media does the opposite of this by keeping people scrolling and stopping them from switching off and relaxing.

‘We wish to only use platforms and services that do their very best to protect users from harassment, harm and manipulation,’ said Constantine.

Lush is known for being vocal about its political stance as it did with the targeting of activists by undercover police officers, standing with refugees and initiatives like empowering women in Ghana.

All of Lush’s brand, retail and people accounts display a single message to ‘Be Somewhere Else’. (Picture:@Lush)

Today, all of Lush’s brand, retail and people accounts display a single message to ‘Be Somewhere Else’. Lush accounts based in other countries, including the United States, Australia and Europe have gone dark as well.

This is not the first time brands have boycotted social media platforms for hosting harmful content. Last year, companies including Adidas, Unilever and US telecoms provider Verizon paused their advertising spending on Facebook for a month.

Even global coffee chain Starbucks reportedly considered quitting Facebook over the constant struggle to moderate hateful comments on its pages.

But none of them has been able to stay away for long.

‘It is not enough for companies to just stop placing paid advertising; people and their time are the currency of these channels and we do not want our content to be used by hidden algorithms designed to hold people captive on a channel,’ said Constantine.

But quitting social media also means switching off a channel for criticism from customers for the brand.

Lush faced its share of social media backlash last year after a £3,000 donation to Woman’s Place UK, a group that has faced heavy criticism for seeking to limit trans people’s rights. The retailer ended up issuing an apology for the incident.

The retailer will continue to have a presence on Twitter and YouTube. (Source: Getty Images Europe)

The company which has more than 400 stores in 48 countries, prides itself on its ethical supply chain. Last year, it came under fire for poor working conditions in its Australian factory and underpaying workers for nearly a decade.

Lush said that it hoped social media platforms would introduce strong best practice guidelines and that new laws would be passed to protect users.

‘We feel forced to take our own action to shield our customers from the harm and manipulation they may experience whilst trying to connect with us on social media,’ said Constantine.

The retailer will continue to have a presence on Twitter and YouTube while it tries to find safer methods of communication.

Lush’s new social media policy will be rolled out across the 48 countries in which it operates. It’s yet to be seen if Lush can stick to its resolution and stay off social media for good.


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