High street pub chain JD Wetherspoon has announced that it is shuttering all of its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
The social media blackout will affect the company’s head office as well as the more than 900 Wetherspoons pubs in the UK and Ireland.
In a post on its now-deleted Twitter account, the company cited a range of reasons for the decision, including “trolling of MPs and people from religious and ethnic minorities, the abuse of personal data and the addictive nature of the platforms themselves”, says The Independent.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
It is the last of these that appears to particularly irk JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin.
“It’s becoming increasingly obvious that people spend too much time on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and struggle to control the compulsion,” he said, acknowledging that the company was going against “conventional wisdom”.
Instead, he directed interested customers to the chain’s printed magazine, Wetherspoons News.
In the aftermath of the surprise announcement, “many commentators suspected it was a publicity stunt”, The Guardian reports - but the bargain boozer has good reason to call time on its social media accounts.
Martin’s vocal support for Vote Leave during the EU referendum led to Twitter campaigns calling for a boycott of the chain, while Facebook pages for Wetherspoon’s pubs have proven “a magnet for bad reviews”.
In any case, the online landscape is unlikely to feel particularly bereft by the absence of Wetherspoon’s social media presence, says the Independent.
“While all the accounts were relatively active, it's obvious from a quick look through them that they didn't form a key part of the company's strategy before they shut down”, says the paper.
“The Independent's local Wetherspoons, for instance - The William Morris in Hammersmith - has not sent a tweet since 2017.”
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.