Facebook Page Commenting Changes

Posted by: in Social Media Insights & Trends on April 13, 2011

Within the next couple of weeks, Facebook will be announcing changes to how their Facebook Pages work, specifically when it comes to commenting. Currently, Page administrators have the ability to disable comments to Wall posts, photos, and videos. Certain companies have taken advantage of this, since they work in highly regulated industries and would find it difficult to deal with open comments from the Facebook community.

Two industries in particular — pharmaceutical and financial services — are regulated by various government entities that mandate the ways in which they must deal with information from the general public. Those “charged” topics can include: financial advice, stock recommendations, adverse (drug) events, off-label use of drugs, etc. In the world of pharma, for example, when these topics are discovered online, it is incumbent upon the drug maker to report that to the FDA (based on certain criteria). On a pharmaceutical company’s Facebook Page, they lock down that conversation by disabling commenting on the Page’s Wall posts, photos, and videos.

Facebook will be changing their policy when it comes to disabling comments. At some point, possibly as early as mid-June, Facebook will be opening up comments on all pharma Pages with the exceptions of:

  • Pages that promote, talk about, or support prescription drugs or devices
  • Pages that focus on a disease state where there is only one prescribed treatment (even if the Page doesn’t mention the treatment)
  • Disease-state/therapeutic area Pages that have the PI/ISI on the Page

This means that corporate Pages, general disease awareness Pages, and unbranded campaign Pages will have their comments re-enabled for their Walls, photos, and videos. Other details of this change are detailed in the below presentation.

By: Matthew Snodgrass

Group Director of Digital Strategy at NextWorks, partner of The W2O Group.

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15 Responses

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  1. Just to clarify, you’re reporting here that Facebook is going to force brand/fan pages in one industry to display comments while letting the rest of the world choose whether or not to allow them? That doesn’t smell right. If it’s true, regardless of the smell test, it is certainly a potential civil suit topic. Facebook may just be too big for the courts not to welcome the opportunity to stick their noses here. You can’t make rules for one group and not the other and get away with it much … unless you have antitrust exemption, which Facebook doesn’t. I’m no lawyer, but if I read your post/presso right, this just doesn’t seem kosher.

  2. Hi Jason. No, not in that way. It’s that Facebook will be opening up Page comments for everyone with those few exceptions.

  3. Jonathan Richman said

    So, you’re saying that Facebook is going to open commenting regardless of how the admin wants the page set up except for companies in these two industries, right? If so, you’re the first to report on this and we haven’t heard this from our Facebook reps. What’s your source for this information?

  4. We found this out during the planning stages of developing a new Page for one of our clients. More info to come.

  5. Where’s the latest on this? You said a couple weeks in your post. So far, I haven’t seen this info anywhere else.

  6. Hi Jonathan- Wish I could update you more, but things are still in flux. Sorry for the deflection :)

  7. Sherri said

    I work for a school district in marketing. Can we still block comments and posts?

  8. @sherri Unless it’s a prescribed medical drug or device, you won’t be able to disable user comments. However, as always, you will be able to disable user posts to your Wall (just not comments to YOUR Wall posts).

  9. Fortis Malar said

    Facebook pages are great benefits for promoting the business, now a days most of the business peoples are using tis way to promote the business. Chennai hospitals

Continuing the Discussion

  1. New Changes for Facebook, New Perspective for Pharma linked to this post on April 15, 2011

    [...] are, of course, exceptions. According to this WCG blog post, the new rules will affect all pharma-sponsored pages, with the following [...]

  2. Facebook forcing engagement on pharma pages? « h2onlinehu linked to this post on April 20, 2011

    [...] WCGworld.com) Categories: Social media Tags: comment, communication, Facebook, healthcare, pharma, social [...]

  3. Facebook No Longer Blocking Comments for (Most Pharmaceutical Pages) linked to this post on May 24, 2011

    [...] and controlling Pages about generic themes — that’s not unlikely, considering previous reports of that issue, as well as Facebook’s overall tone towards the industry. While a given company [...]

  4. Facebook No Longer Blocking Comments for (Most Pharmaceutical Pages | Andy Bearden) linked to this post on May 25, 2011

    [...] creating and controlling Pages about generic themes — that’s not unlikely, considering previous reports of that issue, as well as Facebook’s overall tone towards the industry. While a given company [...]

  5. Pharma Facebook Commenting Changes - The Final Story | Dose of Digital linked to this post on May 1, 2013

    [...] The second report of these changes came from WCG. It’s a post that has been cited numerous times in different blog posts and at conferences since it was published. I’ve been a little skeptical of some of the claims in this post since the beginning (and posted a lot of comments all over the place about it) and it appears that my skepticism was justified. WCG had some of the main idea correct, but included some additional details that turn out to not be correct. Specifically, the key piece they mentioned is that ALL pages (not just pharma) would lose the ability to control whether or not someone posted on the Wall. This is very different than what Jim reported. Essentially, there are two different “settings” here. One only Facebook can enable. This “setting” allows Pages to block people not only from posting on the Wall, but also prevents them from commenting on or Liking posts made by the page. The other “setting” is something available to all Page admins. This allows the admin to prevent people from posting onto the Wall, but allows them to comment or Like posts made by the Page. So, if you don’t want people posting random things on your Page, you can prevent people from doing so, but they’ll always be allowed to comment on what you post. This cannot be turned off unless Facebook did it for you as a special exception. This is the setting that controls this permission: [Click to enlarge] [...]

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