With 300 million users worldwide and one-third estimated to be under the legal drinking age, alcohol industry watchdog,  Marin Institute is raising a red flag on what effect excessive alcohol marketing on Facebook is having on these under age users.

Because of this, Marin Institute recommends that Facebook immediately take action by making three changes (outlined in an article  published in the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice) that would likely hit the social network deep in the pocket.  Here are the recommendations:

  1. Stop accepting paid advertisements for alcohol products
  2. Stop allowing alcohol-related Pages, Applications, Events and Groups
  3. Hire external monitors to enforce the new regulations

I don’t know what your thoughts are on this, but I can’t imagine Facebook jumping at the chance to do any of these. Not a single one.

Here’s a quote from Sarah Mart, MS, MPH, research and policy manager at Marin Institute and lead author of the article,

“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. 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.”

And a quote from co-author Jacob Mergendoller:

“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. Eliminating exposure to this content is necessary if we are ever going to reduce serious alcohol-related harm among young people.”

Have you seen much alcohol advertising on Facebook? I can’t say that I have, but I don’t spend hours and hours on Facebook each day.  I do remember blogger and author Chris Brogan’s post about Gun ads, that he wasn’t too fond of.  I wonder if anti-gun groups are thinking along the lines of the Marin Institute.

At any rate, it sounds like this alcohol marketing could be a real issue.

You can read the entire article published in at globaldrugpolicy.org.

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