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Lush steps back from social media

A Lush shop in Rome

Lush says it will be stepping back from its social media presence from Friday, turning off its Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat feeds. This, it says, will continue “until the platforms take action to provide a safer environment for users”.

The policy will be in place across all 48 countries where Lush operates.

The retailer says it is taking matters into its own hands in deciding to address issues now, rather than waiting for others to believe in the problem. “In the same way that evidence against climate change was ignored and belittled for decades, concerns about the serious effects of social media are going largely ignored now,” it says

It adds: “We wouldn’t ask our customers to meet us down a dark and dangerous alleyway – but some social media platforms are beginning to feel like places no one should be encouraged to go. Something has to change. We hope that platforms will introduce strong best practice guidelines, and we hope that international regulation will be passed into law.  But we can’t wait.  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.”

Mark Constantine, co-founder, chief executive and product inventor at Lush, says; “I’ve spent all my life avoiding putting harmful ingredients in my products. 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 har, so it’s time to take it out of the mix.”

Instead, says Lush, it will keep its presence on YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest. It will also use “older tried and tested routes” while finding new ways to talk to customers. For the moment, it appears, it will be using channels including Lush’s own website, its stores, and email marketing.

The retailer, which is ranked Top150 in RXUK Top500, previously tried to step back from social media use in 2019, but says it has now been inspired to redouble its efforts by whistleblowers. Whistleblower Frances Haugen recently spoke out about Facebook which, she has told members of the UK parliament, is “unquestionably making hate worse”. She was speaking to members of the Online Safety Bill committee, composed of MPs and Lords, which is currently considering the future regulation of social networks. 

In response, a Snap spokesperson says: “We’re surprised and disappointed by Lush’s decision to include Snapchat in this announcement. Snapchat was created as an antidote to traditional social media. We designed our app to prioritise the safety and privacy of our community. It is focused on communication between real friends and is an environment without an open social feed, public vanity metrics, and other features that can fuel social comparison and peer pressure. We continue to keep wellbeing at the heart of all product design and partner with organisations like the Samaritans and Headspace to offer in-app advice and content.”
InternetRetailing will further update this story with responses from social media network as and when they are received. 

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