Joshua Tweets Under The Spotlight
Promotional tweets featuring the boxer Anthony Joshua by the bookmaker Betfred have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The body, which is responsible for regulating gambling advertising in the UK, said that the tweets were likely to strongly appeal to under-18s.
Last year, the ASA tightened its rules on the use of public figures in advertising. A new guideline was introduced that stated ads promoting gambling should not appeal strongly to under-18s. In this case, the authority argues that the boxer is a figure that attracts the attention of young people.
There were three tweets in question, each involving Anthony Joshua. In the first, he talked about his diet, the second looked at how he prepares for a fight, and the third featured the boxer talking about his mentality during a fight. They were posted ahead of his bout with Jermaine Franklin. Betfred rejects the claims that Joshua appeals to children, arguing that boxing is a sport that is targeted towards adults.
Social Media Statistics
They did acknowledge that he has a large social media presence but also said that this was likely to be largely adult-oriented. Social media data shows that none of the accounts following Anthony Joshua on TikTok or X (formerly known as Twitter) belong to people aged between 13 and 17 years old. At the same time, 5 per cent of his Snapchat followers and 6.6 per cent of his Instagram followers are accounts held by people aged between 13 and 17 years old.
A study from Ofcom suggests that a third of UK children aged between eight and 17 are using social media with a fake date of birth. A survey from October 2021 found that 91% of 15 to 16-year-olds use social media. Critics of the ASA’s policies have argued this is a potential minefield for gambling companies when advertising.
Anthony Joshua is followed by around 30 million accounts on various social media profiles. Of which just over 7 million are registered in the UK. 15.7 million of these worldwide followers come from Instagram. Around 1.1 million of these are aged between 13 and 17 years old.
The ASA say that over 1 million followers aged under 18 are significant enough to argue that he has a strong appeal to youngsters. Whereas Betfred dispute this and say that only 280,000 of the 30 million people who follow Anthony Joshua are actually children in the UK under the age of 18.
Betfred have been officially warned that the tweets must not reappear in their current form. The betting company have described the ruling as unjust and suggested they will ask for an independent review. They said that the company is committed to making sure their marketing does not have a strong appeal to under-18s and that these Joshua tweets do not undermine this pledge.
A tweet from Sky Bet was also recently banned for the same issues. The ASA argued that tweets featuring Gary Neville would also appeal to the youth of the UK. The video featured the defender, who has been retired for over ten years, predicting Premier League winners on his Overlap channel from YouTube. In this case, the ASA found that Neville had 135,000 followers aged under 18 on Instagram and X.
Ladbrokes also fell foul of these rulings, with tweets featuring Jake Paul ahead of his February clash with Tommy Fury also being highlighted as being attractive to younger audiences.