Wether­spoon shuts down so­cial me­dia amid trolling and data mis­use fears

Western Mail - - NEWS -

JD Wether­spoon is clos­ing down its Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and Face­book ac­counts for all its 900 pubs and head of­fice with im­me­di­ate ef­fect fol­low­ing the trolling of MPs and oth­ers.

The pub chain said the move also takes ac­count of re­cent con­cerns over the mis­use of per­sonal data and the ad­dic­tive na­ture of so­cial me­dia.

Wether­spoon chair­man Tim Mar­tin said: “We are go­ing against con­ven­tional wis­dom that these plat­forms are a vi­tal com­po­nent of a suc­cess­ful busi­ness. 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. We will still be as vo­cal as ever through our Wether­spoon News mag­a­zine, as well as keep­ing the press up­dated at all times.

“We will also be main­tain­ing our web­site and the Wether­spoon app and en­cour­age cus­tomers to get in touch with us via our web­site or by speak­ing with the man­ager at their lo­cal pub.”

Wether­spoon has more than 44,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers and more than 100,000 fol­low­ers on Face­book.

Mr Mar­tin took the de­ci­sion fol­low­ing re­cent pub­lic­ity over the use of so­cial me­dia to crit­i­cise MPs and oth­ers, es­pe­cially those from re­li­gious or eth­nic mi­nori­ties.

There was no spe­cific case which an­gered the Wether­spoon boss, but he had be­come in­creas­ing con­cerned af­ter read­ing re­ports of MPs be­ing tar­geted for on­line abuse.

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