In the public interest. Netnography to impel policy and regulatory change

Rossella Chiara Gambetti, RV Kozinets, U Gretzel, M Suarez, C Renzulli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Netnography can usefully be applied to the context of policy advocacy and regulatory change. In this chapter, we overview a netnography project we undertook with the Washington, DC-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, a non-profit advocacy group. We conducted a multi-language, multi-platform netnographic investigation in ten countries with eleven researchers to reveal the use of social media content creators and strategies in tobacco promotion. The project required an emphasis on international teamwork, precise documentation, and special attention to the needs for recruitment and interview participant anonymity. As a result, netnography became the research focal point around which a major public policy petition was based. After the project, the netnographers remained committed to the project, speaking with journalists and continuing to work for social media policy change. The chapter illustrates how netnography can be mobilized to reveal shady corporate ethics in national and international social media use. It also reveals how netnography is mobilized to present coherent and scientific cases for public regulation of the use of social media by companies, and of the technology companies who run these platforms for their own profit, sometimes to the detriment of society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNetnography Unlimited. Understanding Technoculture Using Qualitative Social Media Research
EditorsRV Kozinets, R Gambetti
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Netnography
  • influencers
  • non-profit
  • public policy
  • social media
  • tobacco marketing


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