Alcohol industry accused of targeting under-18s on social media
|19 Aug 2011 12:37 BST||Back|
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Alcohol Concern claims that alcohol companies are increasingly using social media to promote their products.
According to the charity’s report New Media, New Problem? the alcohol industry is using games and videos of drinks on social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube to target youngsters.
The report revealed that many popular brands among under-18s, such as Fosters, WKD, Carling, Budweiser, Carlsberg, Bacardi and Smirnoff, have a Facebook and Twitter profile.
The report also said that under-19s could easily bypass the safeguards preventing them from seeing alcohol-related marketing by giving a fake date of birth.
“Boundaries between what constitutes online alcohol advertising and what constitutes social interaction are becoming increasingly hazy,” warned the report.
Drinks watchdog the Portman Group has attacked the report, calling it misleading.
The Portman Group argues that online marketing of alcohol is regulated to prevent it from being targeted at children.
Head of external affairs at the Portman Group, Sarah Hanratty, said: “It is entirely misleading to suggeset that alcohol marketing is being targeted at under-18s. The UK already has some of the strictest rules in place around digital media to prevent alcohol being marketed to children.
Hanratty stressed that it was perfectly legitimate for drinks companies to use social media to market their products to adults as there were clear safeguards in place.