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Big alcohol companies flout rules on social media marketing to children

Steve Mills
Article image for Big alcohol companies flout rules on social media marketing to children

Cancer Council is calling on the Federal Government to take action to protect Aussie kids from harmful alcohol marketing on social media.

New research, published in Public Health Research and Practice, shows over a quarter of Instagram accounts owned by major alcohol companies are accessible to kids. It’s not only Instagram affected, with around 5 per cent of Facebook accounts owned by the companies also accessible.

Since 2017, the industry-managed advertising code has required alcohol marketers activate age restriction controls on social networking sites to prevent children from accessing alcohol content. However, this first of its kind study in Australia, demonstrates that some of the top beer, wine and spirit companies are not complying with even the most basic rules.

Speaking with Steve Mills, Cancer Council Alcohol Working Group Chair Julia Stafford said evidence shows this advertising makes a big difference in kid’s attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol.

“The more children are exposed to alcohol advertising, the more likely they are to start drinking earlier or to drink more,” she said.

Ms Stafford likened the industry-managed code to the “fox guarding the hen house” and said the alcohol companies have “failed to protect kids.”

“It’s not in their interest to restrict their own advertising.

“So we really need the federal government to step up and create higher standards.”

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(Photo credit: iStock by Getty)

Steve Mills
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