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PW 1794 Public response to moderation campaigns: an analysis of social media comments
  1. Jennifer Smith1,
  2. Samantha Bruin1,
  3. Ian Pike1,2
  1. 1BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Preventable is a social marketing campaign in British Columbia, Canada, that aims to change attitudes and behaviours related to preventable injuries, including those related to alcohol. The BC Liquor Distribution Board (BCLDB) partnered with Preventable on five alcohol-related injury prevention social media campaigns in 2017. The topics included: winter sports, moderate consumption, safe boating, binge drinking, and holiday party season. The objective of this study is to describe the attitudes towards alcohol consumption and injury prevention, and reactions to the campaign messages expressed by Facebook commenters.

Content analysis was applied to all comments, excluding replies by Preventable, posted on Facebook during the five alcohol campaign periods in 2017. Emoticons, pictures, stickers, videos and GIFs were included in the analysis. A codebook was developed with 14 a priori and 18 emergent codes. Two independent coders coded each comment and discrepancies were discussed until consensus was reached. Percent agreement was calculated. Codes were ranked and compared between campaigns.

Intercoder agreement was 95.6%. The analysis revealed that few commenters denied the association between alcohol consumption and injury risk. Comments on boating and winter sports campaigns revealed the most common reasons for rejecting the message were: consumption is integral to enjoying the activity, perceived paternalism, and a belief that rules or limits should not apply to those who can behave responsibly. The moderation campaign elicited comments exhorting the harms of alcohol and suggesting cannabis as a safer alternative. Few commenters on the moderation and binge drinking campaigns perceived the message as paternalistic or killjoy. Violating social norms was of moderate concern to commenters across campaigns.

British Columbians appear to accept that alcohol consumption increases injury risk. However, consuming alcohol is considered an important part of certain leisure activities. Future campaigns might consider promoting moderation, rather than abstinence, in this context.

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