Pocock pushes gambling, alcohol advertising regulation

Gambling, alcohol and unhealthy food advertisements on social media are at a record high and an independent senator is pushing the federal government on meaningful reform.

ACT senator David Pocock has met experts to discuss possibilities for regulation, particularly measures to protect young people.

University of Queensland and Monash University researchers examined Facebook and Instagram ads shown to 16- to-25-year-olds and found their feeds were dominated by highly targeted marketing of unhealthy and harmful products.

Facebook data provided by 83 young people, including 54 participants aged 16 and 17, found they had each been assigned an average of 787 ads by 194 marketers, including for alcohol, gambling and unhealthy food.

Senator Pocock said political courage was needed to take on big companies with influence.

"It seems politically taboo to talk about things like gambling regulation ... we have to be talking about this to protect young people," he told reporters in Canberra.

"Australians are the biggest losers when it comes to gambling and it's something we have to do better on."

The independent will push for a whole of government approach to ensure better advertising regulations on harmful products.

Senator Pocock met representatives from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, the Alliance for Gambling Reform, and the Obesity Policy Coalition to discuss possible regulations.