Measuring youth exposure to alcohol marketing on social networking sites: challenges and prospects

J Public Health Policy. 2014 Feb;35(1):91-104. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2013.45. Epub 2013 Nov 28.


Youth exposure to alcohol marketing has been linked to increased alcohol consumption and problems. On relatively new and highly interactive social networking sites (SNS) that are popular with youth, tools for measuring youth exposure to alcohol marketing in traditional media are inadequate. We critically review the existing policies of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube designed to keep branded alcohol content away from underage youth. Looking at brand and user activity on Facebook for the 15 alcohol brands most popular among US youth, we found activity has grown dramatically in the past 3 years, and underage users may be accounting for some of this activity. Surveys of youth and adult participation in alcohol marketing on SNS will be needed to inform debate over these marketing practices.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising / methods
  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Child
  • Data Collection
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Public Health / methods
  • Social Media* / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult