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Alcohol Brands Test Age-Checking Tool on Twitter

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Coors Light and other alcohol brands are testing an age-checking tool on Twitter, Ad Age reports. The tool was designed in response to a revised alcohol industry marketing code, which requires brands to check ages before allowing fans to engage in social media.

On Facebook, users enter their birthdates when they sign up. On Twitter, some alcohol brands ask users to direct-message their birthdates. Others state that when users follow a brand, they are confirming they are at least 21. Some brands have decided to stay away from Twitter, while liquor marketer Diageo has created its own age-checking tool.

Twitter is working with a social media management company, Buddy Media, on a new age-checking tool, and is testing it with a small group of advertisers, the article notes. When fans click to follow a brand, they are sent a message with a link to a website that asks for their date of birth. In order to follow the brand, they must fill out the form within 24 hours. They do not need to repeat the process if they want to follow other alcohol brands.

David Jernigan, Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says more age checks are needed, such as verifying ages using third-party databases that check personal identities against government-issued identification data. “Just telling somebody ‘are you 21, click yes,’ or ‘put in a birthdate’ … that’s not sufficient to get somebody in a bar and we don’t think it ought to be sufficient to get people in the social-media sites,” he told Ad Age.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced it is requiring 14 major alcoholic beverage producers to provide information about their online marketing. The FTC will use the information for a study that will guide recommendations on how the alcohol industry should regulate itself, both online and offline.

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