This Black Friday, Lush is encouraging users to take on Big Tech. The cosmetics retailer has joined forces with the decentralised movement People vs Big Tech, to raise money for their work to "rein in the handful of Big Tech companies that have monopolised the internet with intrusive surveillance, predatory addictive-algorithms, harmful content and echo chambers."
Launching this Black Friday, November 24th, Lush e-commerce sites in the UK and Ireland, United States, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Japan, Australia and New Zealand will sell a limited edition bath bomb called 'The Cloud', with 100% of the sales price (minus the VAT) going to People vs Big Tech.
Lush's Big Tech Rebellion follows on from their previous ‘anti-social’ policy where they removed themselves as a brand from Meta platforms, as well as TikTok and Snapchat.
"Since our 'anti-social policy' two years ago, we’ve taken our stance against Big Tech even further by embarking on our Digital Divestment roadmap and pushing back against the stranglehold the Big Tech 5 have on our business, our families and our communities," says Jack Constantine, Lush's chief digital officer.
"We’re thrilled to be working with People vs Big Tech this Black Friday, as the time has come to start actively campaigning for legislative change and enforcement to level the playing field and take back some of the control that the Big Tech companies have."
People vs Big Tech is an open network of more than 100 civil society organisations and concerned citizens working together to challenge the power and abuses of Big Tech. They have already campaigned and helped to secure groundbreaking victories, like sweeping new tech laws in Europe.
"For years, a handful of tech billionaires have been running the internet like a bunch of feudal kings, harvesting and profiting from our data while their platforms wreak havoc on everything from mental health to democracy," says Tanya O’Carroll, founder of People vs Big Tech.
"But an amazing generation of young leaders are rising up and fighting back, united by a vision for a better online world —where children are protected from deliberately addictive apps, where we can go online and trust what we’ll see in our feeds, where we can learn, explore and connect with loved ones without being relentlessly spied on.”
Lush's Big Tech rebellion
Lush launched its 'Big Tech Rebellion' earlier this year at SXSW in America, a rebellion that seeks to work towards a future without surveillance advertising or predatory algorithms. As mentioned above, it follows on from their 'anti-social policy' two years ago, where they removed themselves from the leading social media platforms. It's a move that has appeared to pay off, as the Lush group recorded a pre-tax profit of £29 million ($34.8 million) in its financial year 2022 audited accounts, up from a loss of £45 million ($54 million) the previous year.
An Amnesty International report highlights that 71% of people are worried about how tech companies collect and use their personal data.
Lush’s 2023 report conducted with The Future Laboratory (‘Digital Engagement: A Social Future’) backed this up, discovering that 65% don’t want social media brands to use their data for commercial benefit, and 70% are calling for global legislation that protects the safety of people online.
"Black Friday is generally a time when the Big Tech companies rake in huge profits, but at what cost?" Says Annabelle Baker, global brand director at Lush. "It’s important that we campaign at this critical time of year to fund movements like People vs Big Tech who are providing a pathway to a future without surveillance advertising or predatory algorithms and putting the control back into the hands of the people.”
Lush customers will not only be able to help by buying The Cloud bath bomb, they can also join the Big Tech Rebellion themselves. By signing the People’s Declaration they will join an open network of concerned individuals and civil society organisations working together to challenge the power and abuses of Big Tech.
Launching this Black Friday, November 24th, Lush is selling a limited edition bath bomb called The Cloud, with 100% of the sales price (minus the VAT) going to People vs Big Tech.
People vs Big Tech (PvBT) have said their first major priority is to ensure today’s tech titans and their legions of lobbyists are not allowed to be the dominant designers of tomorrow’s technology regulations.
"For too long a small handful of tech CEOs have been allowed to trample on our rights and disrupt our communities, unleashing industrial-scale disinformation, driving hate and polarisation and preying on our vulnerabilities—all to keep us clicking and scrolling while they profit from our data," said a PvBT spokesperson.
"They have conned us into giving our “consent” to grow their vast empires of personal data extraction and surveillance. Yet while these corporations have made obscene profits from surveilling us, we the people have been left behind to bear the burden of this devastating business model."
For over a decade, Lush has been actively exploring digital ethics, ethical data, social media culture and the future of technology with human rights front and centre.
Answering the question why a cosmetics company is getting involved in the work of digital ethics? Lush has said: "It's because we all have a duty to give a shit about the future of our planet and the life that inhabits it. At Lush we vehemently believe that digital rights are human rights, and without conscious change on a global, holistic level those rights are compromised."
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