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Facebook Forces Pharma to Show Comments

The social media site enforces its rule that pages should allow social interaction through comments, even on drug company pages.

Edyta Zielinska

FLICKR, IDOVERMANI

Facebook enabled commenting on some drug companies pages on Monday (Aug 15)—a move that is forcing some to close their pages altogether, while other reassess their comment moderation policies.

Most Facebook pages have commenting, but the site allowed pharma companies to turn off that feature because the companies might be liable for inappropriate or misleading comments in ways other industries are not. Drug companies are obligated to act on comments about adverse events, for example, and because commenters may share non-expert medical advice that could have the appearance of being promoted by the company, many preferred to shutter the comments section altogether. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, pharma was just about the only industry on Facebook with such comment-blocking privileges.

The new policy does not mean that all pharma pages will be open, however. Facebook will still allow companies to block comments on the pages set...

Some companies that have closed pages include Amgen, Bayer, Astra Zeneca's Take on Depression page, and two of Johnson & Johnson's pages on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Notably, Sanofi, whose page has 66,000 "likes," and Pfizer have kept their pages open, according to the Washington Post.

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