In an announcement on Monday, 22 November, the cosmetics retailer said it will deactivate its accounts on 26 November and remain offline “until the platforms take action to provide a safer environment for users”.
The move comes after The Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) “Facebook Files”, published in September, suggested that Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, knew Instagram was a “toxic” place for many young people.
According to internal slides obtained by WSJ, 32 per cent of teenage girls surveyed by the platform said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.
Lush’s new policy will be rolled out in all 48 countries where it operates, but it will continue to use its Twitter and YouTube accounts.
“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,” the brand said in its announcement.
“Lush is taking matters into its own hands and addressing the issues now, not waiting around until others believe in the problem before changing its own behaviour.”
Lush previously announced it would come off social media in 2019. At the time, it said it had taken the decision because algorithms were “making it harder” for it to communicate with its customers.
The retailer said it felt forced to start using its accounts again in 2020 to communicate with customers after the pandemic forced many physical retail stores to shut.
Lush said it believes whistleblower reports “clearly lay out the known harms that young people are exposed to because of the current algorithms and loose regulation” of social media platforms.
It is now calling on platforms to introduce strong best practice guidelines, and for government to pass international regulations into law.
“But Lush can’t wait – the brand will take its own action to shield customers from the harm and manipulation they may experience whilst trying to connect with the brand on social media,” it said in a statement.
Jack Constantine, chief digital officer and product inventor at Lush said social media platforms have become “the antithesis” of the brand’s aim.
“As an inventor of bath bombs, I pour all my efforts into creating products that help people switch off, relax and pay attention to their wellbeing,” Constantine said.
“Social media platforms have become the antithesis of this aim, with algorithms designed to keep people scrolling and stop them from switching off and relaxing.”
The Independent has contacted Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat for comment.
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