AIMS: To explore young people’s perceptions of alcohol advertising on Facebook and investigate perceived compliance with the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC). METHODS: An online cross-sectional survey with 172 Australians aged 16-29 years recruited from a market research website and via Facebook. We compiled advertisements from six popular alcohol brands' Australian Facebook pages and asked respondents for their perceptions and interpretations in open and closed-ended questions. RESULTS: Open-ended responses most commonly indicated that the main messages of the advertisements related to social success. In closed-ended questions, respondents perceived advertisements implied that alcohol facilitated relaxation (67%), improved mood (65%), social success (57%) and confidence (49%). CONCLUSION: Young people identified the main themes of alcohol advertising on Facebook as related to social success and significant improvement in mood. Young people’s interpretations of Facebook alcohol advertising suggest breaches of ABAC guidelines. Strengthening the enforcement and application of the ABAC and social media alcohol advertising policies is justified.
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This work was supported by an Australian Government Department of Health Preventive Research Fellowship. The Burnet Institute gratefully acknowledges the contribution to this work of the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program. P.M.D. is the recipient of an NHMRC Research Fellowship. C.J.C.W. receives an Australian Postgraduate Award from Monash University. M.S.C.L. receives a fellowship from the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.