Currently alcohol advertising is self-regulated by the alcohol industry. Countless evidence provided across the years have proven that industry self-regulation has failed to protect children from alcohol harm.
Now, a new study by Cancer Council WA has added to this evidence base. As per the study findings some alcohol industry Facebook and Instagram accounts are accessible to children.
The study looked at 195 alcohol brands that were available for sale in Australia through the nine top companies. Researchers identified 153 Facebook accounts (84 Australian, 69 international) and 151 Instagram accounts (77 Australian, 74 international). The study found,
- 28% of Instagram and 5% of Facebook accounts did not have age-restriction controls activated.
- Similar proportions of Australian and international accounts on both platforms were not using controls.
- Only two companies were compliant across all of their accounts.
A recent report by VicHealth, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) uncovered how widespread targeted marketing of harmful products to Australian children is in the country. This report found that 940,000 children were profiled as “interested in alcohol” by Facebook in 2018.
Another report by Reset Australia published soon after exposed how Facebook collects and profiles children’s data for targeted advertising. According to their analysis, reaching a thousand young people profiled as interested in alcohol will only cost advertisers around $3.03.
Comprehensive alcohol marketing regulation are needed in Australia to protect children from being exposed to alcohol ads everywhere. This has long been a problem for Australia. Communities, parents and others have long been calling for government regulations on alcohol marketing because the self-regulation system continues to fail.
Public Health Research & Practice: “Alcohol brands’ use of age-restriction controls on Facebook and Instagram in Australia“