UK pub chain J D Wetherspoon has closed all social media accounts for its 900 venues across the UK, as well as its head office.

It announced the decision on its main Twitter account, saying: “In a world of social media, J D Wetherspoon has decided to close down all Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts for individual pubs and head office.

“Rather than using social media, we will continue to release news stories and information about forthcoming events on our website (jdwetherspoon.com) and in our printed magazine – Wetherspoon News.”

It was estimated that the company had approximately 44,000 followers on Twitter and more than 100,000 likes on Facebook before the sites were closed down.

Founder and chairman of J D Wetherspoon Tim Martin elaborated on the reasons behind the decision in a statement: “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.”

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He also told the BBC advertising in general had never been part of Wetherspoon’s business strategy and that he thought the move would give the company a competitive advantage because ‘everyone else is wasting hours of their time’.

J D Wetherspoon has said no jobs would be affected by the decision to close its social media accounts.

Biolink.Tech CEO and founder Evgeny Chereschnev agrees with Martin that not having a social media presence is necessarily negative for a business, saying:

“One of today’s modern misconceptions is that social media is essential for business. The truth is, most companies totally mix cause and effect; they invest lots of money in social media as if those channels were a business goal in itself, but in reality social media is just a tool for talking and listening to your clients. Is social media the only way to perform those two tasks? Definitely not.

“There are numerous examples of companies being weak or absent across social media and still remaining insanely successful at the same time. Apple, for example, has never run contests or produced a huge amount of content for Facebook and it is still able to sell billions of devices. Same with Google, Tesla or SpaceX…and the list goes on.”

Ecommerce and digital agency Visualsoft head of social media Erin Simons disagrees, saying:

“Social media provides an invaluable way for retailers to engage – and build stronger relationships with – customers, so JD Wetherspoon’s decision to shut its accounts in order to better serve its customers seems strange.

“Clearly, the pub chain’s social strategy has been scattered; with hundreds of different brand accounts vying for the attentions of a similar audience. However, to completely disregard the potential of social media to drive traffic, conversation and engagement around your offering is extremely unwise, and something we would not recommend to any brand.”