Alcohol Industry CSR Organisations: What Can Their Twitter Activity Tell Us about Their Independence and Their Priorities? A Comparative Analysis
There are concerns about the accuracy of the health information provided by alcohol industry (AI)-funded organisations and about their independence. The study conducted a content analysis of the health information disseminated by AI-funded organisations through Twitter, compared with non-AI-funded charities, to assess whether their messages align with industry and/or public health objectives.
The study compared all tweets from 2016 from Drinkaware (UK); Drinkaware.ie (Ireland); and DrinkWise (Australia), to non-AI-funded charities Alcohol Concern (UK), Alcohol Action Ireland, and FARE (Australia).
Industry-funded bodies were significantly less likely to tweet about alcohol marketing, advertising and sponsorship; alcohol pricing; and physical health harms, including cancers, heart disease and pregnancy.
They were significantly more likely to tweet about behavioural aspects of alcohol use and less likely to mention cancer risk; particularly breast cancer.
These findings are consistent with previous evidence that the purpose of such bodies is the protection of the alcohol market, and of the alcohol industry’s reputation. Their messaging strongly aligns with AI corporate social responsibility goals. The focus away from health harms, particularly cancer, is also consistent with previous evidence.
The evidence does not support claims by these alcohol-industry-funded bodies about their independence from industry.