Janssen Pharmaceuticals has announced it will shut down its Psoriasis 360 Facebook page, which was first launched in October, 2010. At the time, I praised this Facebook page as the “first [pharma FB site] to publish ALL comments BEFORE they are reviewed” (see “Markets as Conversations: Can You Have a Discussion with ‘Psoriasis 360’ on Facebook?“).

Janssen cited its inability to moderate posts made to the Psoriasis 360  wall, one-third of which “mention[ed] a specific drug by name, or talk[ed] about the efficacy of a particular treatment is (or its side effects).” In such cases, Janssen had to ask for the post to be removed or to “pull” it, which I guess was too much work for them to handle after Alex Butler, former Janssen Digital Strategy and Social Media Manager, left the company. Alex was the person responsible for Psoriasis 360. For his efforts, I awarded him (not Janssen) the first ever Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer award (see “First Pharmaguy Social Media Pioneer Award Given to Janssen’s Alex Butler“).

In a statement published on the Psoriasis 360 FB wall, the “Psoriasis 360 team” said “we have found ourselves removing a larger and larger proportion of posts, stifling worthwhile discussions.” According a PMLiVE article, Janssen said that “within the last three months alone a third of all posts to the page had to be removed, the majority because they mentioned prescription-only medicines, but a ‘significant minority’ were disallowed because they included offensive language” (see here).

If one-third of the comments had to be removed or blocked, that means that two-thirds of the comments were NOT blocked. The total number of such comments I find on the Psoriasis 360 site is about 379, including 95 comments submitted by the “Psoriasis 360 team” itself. There were also several comments made by associates of Psoriasis 360 such as from “www.psoriasis360.com.” That leaves 284 comments, which represents about 2/3 of the total comments Janssen had to review over the course of 18 months. Doing the math, I estimate that Janssen reviewed about 423 comments during that time for an average of 24 comments per month or less than 1 per day!

Holy cow! What a burden to bear!

What really happened was that when the social media pioneer Alex Butler left Janssen late last year, no one was left to manage the site and Janssen obviously did not feel it was worth it to devote 0.125 FTE (ie, one hour per day) to do the job or to outsource the moderation of comments.

It’s obvious that Facebook did not offer Janssen a good return on investment however they may have defined that. There is still a psoriasis 360 YouTube site, which is NOT required to allow comments.

What I don’t like about this is not the lack of commitment to social media conversation on Janssen’s part, but using regulations as an excuse for its lack of commitment. Reviewing one comment a day is NOT a regulatory hurdle difficult to overcome. Even on sites that are not regulated — such as this blog — weeding out unsavory, “offensive,” or spammy comments is a fact of social media life that has to be dealt with. Love it or leave it. Janssen has chosen to leave it.