What you can do

Talk with your young person

If you have a young person in your life, have a conversation about alcohol advertising on social media.

Help them become aware of how advertising on social media may be affecting their behaviour or attitude towards drinking, and recognise the subtle techniques used by the alcohol industry to promote their products and influence consumers.

For advice on how to approach a conversation like this with a young person, see this resource from Positive Choices here.

High school excursion

Explore media literacy

Media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they are sending. It may be worth checking how media literacy is taught at your young person’s school. Learning media literacy from an early age can assist young people in identifying some of the advertising practices used by alcohol companies, and how they may be targeting them. For more information, see below:

Reduce exposure of paid advertisements

You can limit the amount of alcohol advertisements shown on individual social media platforms – and encourage your young person to do the same. This can be done by adjusting settings on Facebook and Instagram. See below:

  • Facebook > Settings & Privacy > Settings > Ads > Ad Topics > See fewer – Alcohol
  • Instagram > Settings > Ads > Ad topic preferences > See fewer – Alcohol

While this function is unlikely to prevent all advertising and exposure on any given social media platform, it may help reduce what is being seen.

Report inappropriate content

You can report any post that you consider to be offensive or inappropriate, including any alcohol-related images, videos, or wording that meets this criteria.

While the major social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – do not have a specific report mechanism for inappropriate representations of alcohol consumption, you can still follow these steps to report posts:

  • Facebook: Report > something else > promoting drug use > I believe this goes against FB’s community standards
  • Instagram: Report > It’s inappropriate > I just don’t like it OR false information
  • Twitter: Report Tweet > It’s abusive or harmful > It’s disrespectful or offensive

Note: It is unlikely that user-generated content would be successfully taken down unless the content was incredibly offensive or vulgar. However, content that is posted by an alcohol brand that clearly breaches the advertising codes may be more properly investigated.

Make an official complaint

If you see an advertisement or promotion from an alcohol brand which you believe violates the advertising code, make an official complaint to the ABAC (Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code) and the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB).

The ABAC is the official regulatory body governed by the alcohol industry. An online complaint form is available at this third party site: https://adstandards.com.au/lodge-complaint.

The ABAC has had a limited response to complaints historically26, so complaints can also be made through the AARB, which is run by the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA and Cancer Council. It was developed in response to the weakness of the current self-regulatory system run by the alcohol industry, and accepts all community complaints about alcohol advertising through the online form here: https://alcohol.phaiwa.org.au/alcohol-advertising-review-board/make-a-complaint

Resources/further information

For further information on alcohol advertising and alcohol consumption in general, refer to the following resources: