Alcohol companies

New research to explore alcohol companies’ digital marketing tactics to target youth

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is partnering with the University of Queensland (UQ) for a three-year study to better understand how young people are targeted by alcohol companies via social media.

Using new computational and machine learning methods, researchers collect and analyze alcohol marketing from more than 480 social media alcohol pages.

The research comes as Reset Australia investigations found that Facebook marks children as interested in alcohol, approves alcohol ads aimed at children and continues to collect data from children to target them with advertising. .

On average, ad tech companies collect over 72 million data points on a child before they turn 13.

UQ Principal Investigator Associate Professor Nicholas Carah said the new study uses breakthrough technology to better understand the digital marketing practices of alcohol companies.

“Digital marketing by alcohol companies is growing rapidly, especially on social media platforms. Much of this marketing targets people based on their personal data, and we know that young people are exposed to advertising for alcohol,” said Professor A/Carah.

“Much of this happens out of sight, only seen by those who are directly targeted and through short-lived content, making it extremely difficult to monitor harmful ads and predatory targeting.”

“By revealing what lies behind the curtain and showing the hidden tactics used by alcohol marketers, we hope this information will provide the data base we urgently need to understand and effectively manage the alcohol marketing in the digital age.”

FARE’s Senior Policy and Research Advisor, Dr Aimee Brownbill, said that by shedding light on the predatory digital marketing tactics of alcohol companies, we can put in place measures that protect health and well-being. to be young.

“Young people are more interested in technology than ever before and they have the right to be able to explore, learn and connect safely online,” said Dr Brownbill.

“In Australia, there are limited protections to prevent young people from engaging in predatory marketing practices in the digital world. This study will help us better understand the ways in which alcohol companies target young people and the measures that can be introduced to prevent this.

The project received funding of $530,000 including $265,000 from the Australian Research Centre. The first results will be published in early 2022. FARE and the University of Queensland will also work closely with co-investigators and partners from Curtin University, Monash University and Queensland University of Technology.

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