Ethical retailer quits social apps in protest of ‘harmful algorithms’
The policy will be applied across all 48 countries where the family run business operates.
The Dorset headquartered company – famed for its fragrant fizzy bath bombs made from natural ingredients – previously removed itself from Meta’s platforms Facebook and Instagram two years ago after protesting that these channels wielded too much power.
However, Jack Constantine, the firm’s chief digital officer and product inventor admitted that it became more reliant on social during the pandemic when lockdowns forced it to close the doors on its physical stores.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony to the US Congress – which, accused the social media network of using powerful algorithms to exploit existing insecurities among its young users – has now galvanized Lush’s efforts.
The family-run firm said in a statement: “Our resolve has been strengthened by all the latest information from courageous whistle blowers 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.”
Co-founder and CEO Mark Constantine added: “I’ve spent my whole life avoiding putting harmful ingredient into 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 harm, so it’s time to take it out of the mix.
The Constantines have said that the company will stay off these platforms until “action was taken to provide a safer environment”.
Lush will also retain a presence on Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, which the firm maintains does not use the same “addictive” algorithms.
Jack Constantine told BBC Radio4’s Today programme that Meta’s channels would need to change their algorithms and revert to their original chronological timeline so that they weren’t force feeding content that exacerbated anxieties.
“If would be great if they get back to how they used to be – more word-of-mouth open platforms where brands and communities can engage together in a positive way,” he said.
Constantine added that the firm has been warned that there may be a potential loss of 10 million in sales, but ultimately, he expected to recoup these “over the next year” by using the firm’s own channels creatively.
The retailer – which boasts its own ‘Tech Warrior’ R&D division, is also experimenting with new business solutions using its own AI, ML, AR and VR technologies.