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Alcohol Advertising on Facebook Promotes Abuse, Suggests Research

The study showed that social media users who view alcohol ads are also more likely to "Like" or "Share" an ad when it has pro-drinking comments.

IANS

Updated:November 14, 2018, 1:14 PM IST
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Alcohol Advertising on Facebook Promotes Abuse, Suggests Research
Alcohol Advertising on Facebook Promotes Abuse, Suggests Research (Mir Suhail/News18.com)
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Alcohol advertisements on social media sites such as Facebook can increase young adults' desire to drink if the ads contain pro-drinking comments from users, according to a research. The study showed that social media users who view alcohol ads are also more likely to "Like" or "Share" an ad when it has pro-drinking comments.

These pro-drinking comments coupled with high user engagement increased the desire to drink by 3.5 times, especially in those with alcohol problems. "Heavy alcohol users and those who are alcohol dependent may be the most susceptible to the potential effects of pro-drinking comments," said the researchers led by Jonathan Noel, from the University of Connecticut.

The ads, coupled with positive comments about drinking, may serve as alcohol cues "and an increased desire to drink after exposure to alcohol cues may predict relapse after treatment for alcoholism". With hundreds of corporate-sponsored alcohol ads on social media sites (with millions of Likes and Shares), plus millions of views of alcohol ads on YouTube, alcohol companies have expanded platforms to reach young consumers.

The study suggests that the industry needs to improve the voluntary self-regulatory system that governs its advertising, possibly by limiting or banning comments on social media advertising. The study, appearing in the Journal of Studies on Drugs, involved 120 young adults, aged 21 to 24 years, living in the US who viewed four beer advertisements posted on Facebook.

The lowest desire to drink was found after participants were exposed to ads with anti-drinking comments plus a high "user engagement" (i.e., Likes/Shares/Comments).
Further, compared with the ads with anti-drinking comments, ads with pro-drinking comments left participants more than twice as likely to say they would Like or Share the ad.

"There is more information on social media than just a post or a message. We are exposed to how other users respond to a post, and it is those responses that can influence your desire to drink," Noel said.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat of the state Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you put on the psephologist's hat. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections. Elections = News18)
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