SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — In an article published today in the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice, Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog, has sounded an alarm over the excessive prevalence of alcohol marketing and other content to promote dangerous drinking on the popular social networking website Facebook.
“Facebook started as a fun tool for college students to interact and connect, but it has morphed into yet another means for corporations to exploit its users, particularly youth,” said Sarah Mart, MS, MPH, research and policy manager at Marin Institute and lead author of the article, “Alcohol Promotion on Facebook.” Mart added, “As Facebook continues to grow as the youth market’s social networking tool of choice, the alcohol industry’s influence on Facebook must not be underestimated.”
Facebook boasts 300 million active users worldwide with one-third of them estimated to be under the legal drinking age. Users are subjected to numerous paid alcohol ads and tens of thousands of additional impressions of alcohol promotional content through Pages, Applications, Events and Groups. Despite Facebook’s mostly unenforced Alcohol Advertising Guidelines, most of this content promotes alcohol brands and dangerous drinking and is accessible to Facebook users of every age. Research has shown that alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death and the most widely used drug among youth in the United States.
“The only way to protect youth and young adults from the incessant promotion of alcohol on Facebook is to remove all promotional content about alcohol,” stated Jacob Mergendoller, student at Wesleyan University, and co-author of the article. “Eliminating exposure to this content is necessary if we are ever going to reduce serious alcohol-related harm among young people,” he added.
In light of the disturbing pervasiveness of alcohol-related advertising and messages found on Facebook, Marin Institute recommends in the article that Facebook should immediately:
— Stop accepting paid advertisements for alcohol products;
— Stop allowing alcohol-related Pages, Applications, Events, and Groups;
— Hire external monitors to enforce the new regulations.
Read the entire article at globaldrugpolicy.org. View the watchdog video at marininstitute.org.
Marin Institute is an alcohol industry watchdog based in San Rafael, CA.
Michael Scippa 415 257-2490
Jorge Castillo 415 257-2488
SOURCE Marin Institute