We surveyed people between the ages of 14 and 20 from Aotearoa, New Zealand, to find out what they thought about alcohol and tobacco advertising on social media. They valued social media for its ability to stay in touch with friends and family, but they often said that they found it addictive.
One 20-year-old Maori/Pakeha man told us that:
The algorithms used to create content are predatory and addictive. Only being able to communicate with your friends and family is valuable.
A female Pakeha, aged 18, said:
It is addictive, it encourages competition and comparison, and it causes mental issues in young people.
The responses of participants highlight social media’s addictive nature and the cost users incur by continuing to use it. This insight leads us to believe limbic capitalism has become ” platform capitalism.”
Public health faces new challenges.
It is important to understand how we can choose and control what we do on social media. Digital platform users have valuable insight into how marketers use social media to exploit their weaknesses as they follow their interests and live their social lives on the internet.
Public health issues posed by limbic platform capitalism are a grave escalation. It is difficult to avoid and identify marketing in these digital environments because it has become naturalized. It is stronger and more effective in targeting our limbic systems.
It is difficult to ignore digital marketing. Getty Images
Perth, Australia, is a good example. The alcohol industry took advantage of the COVID-19 epidemic to create an opportunity. Alcohol ads have increased on popular digital platforms. Alcohol ads were seen by users at least once every 35 seconds. They offered easy access to the alcohol they wanted without having to leave the house and promoted the consumption of alcohol in order to “feel good.”
When lockdowns occurred, our participants noticed an increase in alcohol and vape ads, as well as delivery offers. They also noted that they were aware of synergies in the marketing strategy since lockdowns.
They use it to promote their product. They use. Many songs became famous on [platform name]. Many companies are using the most famous songs to promote their products.
Social media regulation is needed.
Social media on mobile devices is now a central part of young peoples’ professional, social, and civic identities. They actively use social networks for their ends but are also recruited to be limbic platforms and product consumers.
The platform algorithms generate, analyze, and use vast quantities of personal data in order to tune and target flows of content for users. This will influence their wants, behaviors, and consumption to maximize profits.
Read more: NZ children see more than 40 ads for unhealthy products each day. It’s time to change marketing rules.
These developments and their public health implications require immediate attention. Algorithmic models intensify targeting of users at times, places, and contexts when they are most susceptible. Home delivery of alcohol in the evening is an example.
It can affect purchasing decisions and harm vulnerable consumers, aggravating health disparities. These commercialized algorithms raise important questions about public oversight. Should we prohibit the marketing and promotion of legal but unhealthy products via limbic platforms, or should it be banned?
It is vital to conduct research on mobile social media environments in order to develop public health initiatives, policies, and agendas. In this new marketing era, in which commodities, as well as the platforms on which they are promoted, are participatory, data-driven and limbic, we urgently require regulatory responses.