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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 7 Hansard (6 August) . .

Page.. 2142..

Mr Hanson: I agree absolutely with the point of order, and the reason for it was that I think Mr Rattenbury and Ms Burch had voted both yes and no during the vote, so I think there was some confusion about that matter.


Motion by Ms Burch proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Alcohol marketing on Facebook

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.37): Australia has an estimated nine million Facebook users active daily, including 7.3 million using a mobile to connect to Facebook. It is the world's largest and most popular social network.

Alcohol brands have embraced Facebook to promote their product and engage with Australian users. Unlike advertising via print, radio and television, the internet is social and interactive, enabling successful marketing to spread like a virus—hence "viral marketing". The alcohol industry keeps fans interested through highly targeted and entertaining interactions.

In May I participated in a public forum called "Like, comment, share: alcohol advertising and promotion on Facebook". It featured Dr Nicholas Carah of the University of Queensland, who was commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education to look at how alcohol companies use Facebook to advertise their brands.

Dr Carah analysed the activity of the 20 top alcohol brands on Facebook business pages in Australia over 2012. By the end of 2012, the 20 alcohol brands studied had 2½ million followers on their pages, and had posted 4,500 items of content. There were 2.3 million "like", "comment" and "share" interactions with alcohol brands' content. As interactions increased, the reach of the brand increased. Brands may focus on gender or age demographics, depending on the targeted audience and the image they wish to portray.

In the forum, we were invited to join the conversation on Twitter, and I asked the panel about their concerns over regulation of alcohol brands online. Dr Carah said that alcohol brands are irresponsibly skirting advertising restrictions by prompting users to say things the brands cannot. Alcohol advertising legislation does not permit the targeting, portraying or encouraging of people to consume alcohol in excess or rapidly. To skirt legislation, one alcohol brand tactic is to ask users to respond to questions about the product. For example, Jack Daniels posted an image with the question: "You're locked in one of the barrel houses. What do you do next?" Dr Carah said that users showed their loyalty to the brand by using humour about alcohol overdose. Users' posts were visible to their own network of friends, who may also comment, adding to the post.

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