Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has used Twitter to tell its 44,000 followers that it is quitting social media. The firm’s head office and 900 pubs will quit the micro-blogging site, alongside Instagram and Facebook with immediate effect, it said.
The pub chain linked the move to bad publicity surrounding social media including the “trolling” of MPs. “I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever,” chairman Tim Martin said.
The firm said its decision had also been influenced by the concerns regarding the “misuse of personal data” and “the addictive nature of social media”.
“We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business,” said Mr Martin.
He told the BBC he had always thought the idea that social media was essential for advertising was untrue. “We were also concerned that pub managers were being side-tracked from the real job of serving customers,” he said.
The chairman said that it had consulted its pub mangers before making the move, and “90-to-95% felt using social media “was not helping the business”.
The chairman reassured its followers that it would “still be as vocal as ever”, but would instead use its magazine and website as well as the press for news updates.
He said customers could also get in touch with them by speaking with their local pub manager.
“It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion,” Mr Martin added.
The pub chain currently has more than 100,000 Facebook followers and more than 6,000 on Instagram. Asked whether Wetherspoon’s move could start a business trend, Mr Martin said he hoped not.
“Currently we’ve got a massive commercial advantage because everyone else is wasting hours of their time,” he said.