Though much has been written about social media, it is still the Wild West of advertising. This is especially true when regulating information disseminated through social media. The regulatory agencies are struggling to police an overwhelming amount of new content online.
One example comes from the Food and Drug Administration’s Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communications. The FDA fined and reprimanded a pharmaceutical company based on its use of social media.
Novartis, was providing information through a Facebook sharing widget on its US consumer website. The widget was simply a clickable button that would allow consumers to share the Novartis-generated content with everyone in their Facebook and Twitter networks.
The FDA’s issue is that the content would be shared without the normal copious legal text required by pharmaceutical companies conveying risks, directing consumers to more information, or detailing possible side effects.
In a letter sent to Novartis, the FDA stated that the shared content was deceptive because it “makes representations about the efficacy of Tasigna but fails to communicate ANY risk information associated with the use of this drug.”
The Federal Trade Commission and consumer watchdog groups are doing their best to monitor social media and other online content, but are having little success because of the overwhelming amount of content.
In the breach, advertising agencies can step up and be proactive in creating socially responsible content. It’s new territory out there, so agencies and clients need to both be cognizant of the intended — and unintended — effects of digital initiatives.
Social media can provide huge opportunities to grow customer relationships, but can be confusing or even misleading among consumers. Stay tuned for more back and forth, as everyone attempts to navigate responsibly in the world of social media and learn more about the social media services offered by Imaginuity.