Lush Cosmetics, a popular beauty retailer known for its handmade products and ethical supply chain, has decided to quit Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok due to concerns over the negative impact of social media on users’ mental health. The decision was influenced by recent news about social media whistleblowers, such as Frances Haugen, who accused Facebook of prioritizing profit over public good. Lush’s core demographic of young girls is particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of social media algorithms.
Lush CEO Mark Constantine expressed his concern about exposing customers to the risks associated with social media, stating that he has spent his life avoiding putting harmful ingredients in his products. Brandi Halls, a representative for Lush, added that the company does not want its content to be used by hidden algorithms designed to hold people captive on social media channels.
This is not the first time Lush has taken a stance against social media. In March 2019, the company announced it was “switching up social” due to frustrations with fighting algorithms and unwillingness to pay for newsfeed real estate. However, the pandemic forced Lush to return to social media as it was the best way to engage with customers while stores were closed.
Despite quitting major social media platforms, Lush will maintain a presence on YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. The company relies on its own brand channels, partnerships, and public relations for advertising, rather than paid advertising on social platforms. Lush hopes that social media sites will improve their practices and implement stronger guidelines to protect users from harmful content.
The decision to quit social media has been met with mixed reactions, with some praising Lush for championing digital ethics and others questioning the authenticity of the move, given the company’s previous attempts to quit social media. As Lush pioneers this shift, it remains to be seen how the long-term relationship with customers will be affected and whether other brands will follow suit.