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Lush Cosmetics quits social media to address customers' mental health challenges

Starting November 26, Lush will be shutting down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat accounts across all the 48 countries they operate in.

Lush Cosmetics quits social media to address customers' mental health challenges
Cover Image Source: People wearing protective face masks shop in Lush in the town center on June 15, 2020, in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

At a time when most brands are ramping up their online presence to boost sales during the holiday shopping season, Lush Cosmetics has decided to take a step back. The global bath products brand announced in a press release this week that they will cease posting on a number of their social media accounts until the platforms "take action to provide a safer environment for users." Starting Friday, November 26, Lush will be shutting down its Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat accounts across all the 48 countries where the brand operates its more than 900 stores worldwide, including 240 across the U.S. and Canada.


As per the press release, the policy is intended to emphasize the "serious effects of social media" and its impact on users' mental health. "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," Jack Constantine, the Chief Digital Officer and product inventor at Lush, said in a statement. "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." 


"I've spent all my life avoiding putting harmful ingredients in my products," added Mark Constantine Obe, the co-founder, CEO and product inventor at Lush. "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, so it's time to take it out of the mix." Known for its cruelty-free and organic bath bombs, shampoos and soaps, Lush has long been outspoken about social and environmental causes such as Black Lives Matter, deforestation and the climate crisis. The company consistently promotes sustainability to its millions of followers on social media.


"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. 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 behavior," the brand said in its release. Acknowledging that this isn't the first time they've attempted to quit social media, it added: "Like so many teenagers have experienced before us, Lush has tried to come off social media, but our FOMO is vast, and our compulsion to use the various platforms means we find ourselves back on there, despite our best intentions. So here we are again, trying to go cold (plant-based) turkey."


"Having previously attempted this in 2019, our resolve has been strengthened by all 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," the brand continued. "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."


The latest effort comes in the wake of the whistleblower accounts from former-Facebook employees, which allegedly proved that "Facebook knows the very real harms being caused on their platform, but are choosing not to act." Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg later responded to these claims, saying he and his company "care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health" and that "at the most basic level, I think most of us just don't recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted."


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