J&J Unit Shuts Down Face Book Page Due to Obscene Comments

J&J Unit Shuts Down Face Book Page Due to Obscene Comments

March 22nd, 2012 // 1:36 pm @

Source: Pharmalot

More than a year after launching its Psoriasis 360 page on Facebook, the Janssen UK unit of Johnson & Johnson is closing down due to a growing number of comments that had to be removed because specific drugs were mentioned or, in some cases, offensive language was used. The decision was posted on the Facebook page today.

The move comes amid an ongoing debate over the extent to which the pharmaceutical industry can – and should – embrace Facebook and, in general, social media. Last year, Facebook no longer allowed drugmakers to disable posted comments, prompting some to question the wisdom of maintaining Facebook pages on the premise that pages may become too difficult to manage (read this).

In fact, the Psoriasis 360 Facebook page was the first in the pharmaceutical industry to allow comments to appear before being vetted by a drugmaker, notes the Digital Intelligence blog, which first reported the closing. To what extent this starts a full-blown trend is unclear. The decision to close the page was accelerated by language some posts contained, a Janssen spokesman writes us.

“We are sorry to announce that we will be closing this Facebook page shortly. It is not a decision we have taken lightly, and we want to be upfront and honest about why we feel it’s necessary. As a UK pharmaceutical company, we – quite rightly – comply with strict rules, particularly in relation to communications with members of the public,” writes Janssen, which markets the Remicade psoriasis treatment.

“These rules mean that whenever a post on this page mentions a specific drug by name, or talks about the efficacy of a particular treatment is (or its side effects), we have to ask for it to be changed, or pull it. Since the page was launched nearly 18 months ago, we have found ourselves removing a larger and larger proportion of posts, stifling worthwhile discussions.”

“This page was created – in a spirit of innovation – as a space for people affected by psoriasis to share experiences and information, and to discuss psoriasis and related topics. Janssen is proud to have provided this forum at a time when they weren’t as widespread as they are today. But instead of our original intention of facilitating meaningful conversations, our experience shows we are actually hampering conversations that could take place freely on a page run by a patient organization.”

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