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Comment published on 8 July 2019, see Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2421.
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Alcohol Industry CSR Organisations: What Can Their Twitter Activity Tell Us about Their Independence and Their Priorities? A Comparative Analysis

1
Department of Health Services Research and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; London WC1H 9SH, UK
2
Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London W6 6RP, UK
3
Department of Public Health, Environments and Society, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1H 9SH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050892
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2019 / Accepted: 3 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Policy and Public Health)
There are concerns about the accuracy of the health information provided by alcohol industry (AI)-funded organisations and about their independence. We 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. We 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 drinking 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: alcohol industry; public health; cancer; social media; thematic analysis alcohol industry; public health; cancer; social media; thematic analysis
MDPI and ACS Style

Maani Hessari, N.; van Schalkwyk, M.C.; Thomas, S.; Petticrew, M. Alcohol Industry CSR Organisations: What Can Their Twitter Activity Tell Us about Their Independence and Their Priorities? A Comparative Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 892.

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