Thomas Babila Sama, Ilkka Konttinen & Heikki Hiilamo
Alcohol Industry Arguments for Liberalizing Alcohol Policy in Finland: Analysis of Twitter Data
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the arguments used by the alcohol industry and actors aligning with it as a lobbying strategy on Twitter to influence the reform of the Finnish alcohol law during its preparation phase between 2014 and 2017, when the original purpose of the law reform was changed from reducing alcohol-related harm to liberalizing alcohol policy.
Method: Primary data were collected on Twitter between 2014 and 2017 from six alcohol industry actors (n = 1,085 tweets). The Twitter data were analyzed by coding using Microsoft Excel and by content and thematic analyses using a modified version of the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing's (2011) seven key messages of the alcohol industry.
Results: The findings identified three main arguments used on Twitter by the alcohol industry and actors aligning with it, namely: (1) application of liberal alcohol policies generates more revenue, (2) liberties should be generally prioritized above bureaucracy and control, and (3) education about responsibility is the best solution to alcohol-related problems.
Conclusions: Social media applications such as Twitter offer the alcohol industry unlimited opportunities for promoting its traditional public relations arguments.