JD Wetherspoon, pub operator and purveyor of all-day breakfasts, has closed the social media accounts for all 900 of its outlets.
The chain has abandoned Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and confirmed to TechRadar that its decision is permanent. Its main accounts were run from its head office, while the rest were managed by the pubs themselves.
Chairman Tim Martin announced the decision in a string of tweets (no longer available), citing several reasons, including the addictive nature of social media and the Facebook data scandal.
However, the company says its main reason was the climate of social media, including its use as a platform for trolling – a problem that Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is struggling to control, and which was Mark Zuckerberg’s main focus for 2018 before he became otherwise occupied.
“We are going against conventional wisdom that these platforms are a vital component of a successful business,” Martin said in a press release.
“I don’t believe that closing these accounts will affect our business whatsoever, and this is the overwhelming view of our pub managers.
“It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion.”
The impact might well be minimal. Although ‘Spoons had more than 100,000 followers on Facebook, over 44,000 on Twitter and over 6,000 on Instagram, that’s relatively low for a company of its size.
Wetherspoon isn’t the only company jumping the social media ship. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, deleted both companies’ Facebook accounts after a challenge on Twitter.
“Delete SpaceX page on Facebook if you’re the man?” suggested a user after Musk responded to a tweet using the trending #deletefacebook tag.
“I didn’t realize there was one,” Musk replied casually. “Will do.”
He later deleted the pages for Tesla and Solar City as well, but justified keeping the companies’ Instagram accounts alive on the grounds that the Facebook-owned service is “fairly independent”.
“I don’t use [Facebook] & never have, so don’t think I’m some kind of martyr or my companies are taking a huge blow,” he tweeted later. “Also, we don’t advertise or pay for endorsements, so … don’t care.”