Caveat Emptor?

Trust Me, I'm A Doctor

by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)

A recent Pew Internet study, released June 16, 2011, shared the following statistic: Facebook users are overall more trusting than non-internet others. 43% of [study] participants were more likely than other internet users to feel that most people can be trusted. With 51% of the American population over 12 years old on Facebook, this is a huge number of very trusting people.

And with loads of pharma brands on Facebook (see Dose of Digitals Wiki), who is a consumer to trust?

The fact of the matter is that while pharmaceutical companies are under strict rules about what can and cannot go one their branded page, pretty much anyone can make a Facebook page for anything.

Oh, you didnt know that?
Take a minute and try it.
Well wait.

We thought you might be.

Its not that there are loads of people out there making faux-Facebook pages for pharma companies or drugs. Most of the content created by the general public are communities and groups, where members can share their personal stories, successes and complaints and find a support system amongst other in the same situation. But how is a person, one of those trusting Facebook users, to know that the page they are viewing is one that is going to give them all the facts? Companies can request, from Facebook, to claim pages with their names or products on them, but thats not a guarantee. And the info shared by well meaning people in those un-branded communities, it’s great that they want to be helpful, but where does it come from? What is the source?

In this information age, with access to everything at our fingertips, its important to remember that the user, the patient in this case, still needs to do their due diligence and find out where their information is coming from. Just because something was shared on Facebook, doesnt mean that its fact.

As the saying goes, caveat emptor. This applies to what is found on social media platforms as well.



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