Lush exits social media over risks to teens
Lush Cosmetics deactivated its Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok accounts on Black Friday with a promise to stay away until the social media platforms can provide safer environments for their users.
The policy will roll out across all 48 countries where Lush operates.
In its statement, Lush said it was motivated to quit social media by the news of leaked documents from a former Facebook employee that showed the company knew Instagram negatively affects teens’ mental health and how the Facebook platform amplifies hate, misinformation and political unrest.
“Lush wouldn’t ask its customers to meet them down a dark and dangerous alleyway — but some social media platforms are beginning to feel like places no one should be encouraged to go,” the U.K.-based retailer said in a statement. “Something has to change. The brand hopes that platforms will introduce strong best practice guidelines, and hopes that international regulation will be passed into law. But Lush can’t wait.”
Lush’s CEO, Mark Constantine, told The Guardian the move was particularly driven by revelations that Instagram made body image issues worse for teenage girls. He said, “I just thought ‘That’s their own research and they’re ignoring it and we are attracting people to their platform.’ We had no choice whatsoever. Lush attracts an awful lot of girls of that age.”
In North America, Instagram is by far Lush’s largest account with four million followers, followed by Facebook (1.2 million), Twitter (278,000) and TikTok (158,000). Lush will continue to update its customers through Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and its own newsletter.
The Facebook whistleblower revelations led U.S. lawmakers to grill executives at Facebook, Snap, TikTok and YouTube over how they safeguard their young users.
Lush, known for its cruelty-free and organic bath bombs, shampoos and soaps, actively champions social and environmental causes such as Black Lives Matter, deforestation and sustainability.
Lush’s UK operations quit Instagram and Facebook in 2019 after growing “tired of fighting with algorithms” and direct communications with customers, but rejoined last year as the pandemic drove customers online.
In addition to Lush, Patagonia announced last month that it would boycott Facebook’s platforms over the allegations that it prioritizes profits over user safety.
- Lush Is Becoming Anti-Social – Lush
- Statement On Continued Facebook Boycott – Patagonia
- Lush quits Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat over safety concerns – The Guardian
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Did Lush make the right call in exiting social media from both a marketing and commerce standpoint? Should other retailers or brands targeting teens follow?