In conjunction with World Mental Health Day, Sephora released social media guidelines targeting online hate and harassment through its Instagram page. It claims to be the first major retailer to publicly debut guidelines
The “Hearts, Not Hate” guidelines were formed with anti-harassment organization Hollaback, a Sephora spokesperson said via email, and are meant to establish Sephora’s social communities as “a safe, judgement-free space for all.”
The three guidelines encourage users to “uplift beauty” by supporting those “taking risks, encouraging inclusion, and creating a sense of belonging,” and also to “be an ally” and “name hate.”
Sephora’s actions on social media come shortly after The Wall Street Journal’s deep look into Facebook’s impact on teens’ mental health, and the retailer likewise acknowledged the “extreme effect” that online harassment can have on self-confidence and mental health.
“Sadly, we recognize that online harassment is a growing epidemic, hurting those who simply want to shine their light and dampening healthy conversations,” the retailer said on its webpage dedicated to the guidelines. “As a leading beauty retailer with a large social presence, we feel a responsibility to ensure that our social platforms are inclusive, welcoming, and free of hateful speech.”
The beauty retailer’s guidelines involve encouraging others with “hearts and kind words;” working to address questions and misconceptions without judgment; respecting others’ sexual orientations, gender identities, pronouns and gender expressions; and moderating comments that involve harassment.
In an email, the retailer touted the support from some of Sephora’s “most notable brands and brand founders,” including Selena Gomez, founder and creator of Rare Beauty.
“Online harassment can negatively affect your mental health, which is why I’m joining Sephora to help combat this issue,” Gomez said. “I’m passionate about making our social spaces a safer and more welcoming place for everyone.”
Sephora’s social media guidelines are just the latest in a series of efforts the beauty retailer has pursued to tackle inclusion and belonging. In January this year, Sephora rolled out an action plan for handling racial bias in its stores that included changes to marketing, merchandising, in-store experience and operations. That effort encompassed its commitment to the Fifteen Percent Pledge and doubling its assortment of Black-owned brands by the end of 2021, as well as a pledge to increase diversity in its marketing campaigns and on social media.
The latter commitment resulted in Sephora’s first campaign highlighting Black-owned brands this fall, with a focus on “the excellence and quality” of products.
Written by Cara Salpini for Retail Dive