As more and more pharmaceutical companies launch social networking platforms associated with their brands, some will allow users (consumers, patients, physicians, and the anonymous rabble) to post comments as part of ongoing discussions about drugs and/or the conditions they treat. Recent pharma experience with social media discussions (see “What Sanofi-Aventis Learned from Its FaceBook Experience & What the Experts Recommend It Do Now“) demonstrate how important it is to properly manage online communities. Perhaps the most important management tool is moderation.

Basically, there are three options for moderation:

  1. Pre-screening comments BEFORE they are posted
  2. Post-screening comments AFTER they are posted
  3. NO screening/moderation at all

I am already on record as being against no moderation (see “Pharma Should Leave Unmoderated SM Discussions to 3rd Parties“). But I am on the fence regarding pre- vs. post-screening.

A few organizations that submitted comments to the FDA in response to its questions about regulating pharma’s use of social media addressed the issue of moderation (see, for example, “Accountability for Pharma Content on Social Media Sites“). LiveWorld, Inc. — a social marketing agency with 20+ years creating, operating, and moderating online communities — submitted the most detailed comments regarding moderation (find LiveWorld’s comments here).

In tomorrow’s Pharma Marketing Talk LIVE podcast (“Online Community Management Moderation Best Practices & Other Tips for Pharma Social Media Managers“), I will be interviewing Jenna Woodul, who is the co-founder and Chief Community Officer of LiveWorld. Jenna and LiveWorld believe that the FDA should not issue specific regulations about moderation of comments on pharma-owned and operated social networks. The questions I have for Jenna are:

  • What’s wrong with how many pharma companies are currently managing their social media campaigns?
  • What’s your opinion of moderation? Should pharmacos moderate posts BEFORE they are published on their social media sites? Or should they only remove posts that violate the terms AFTER they are posted automatically?
  • Can you explain what kind of moderation is possible for social networking sites such as Facebook and Youtube? Are there limitations that pharma companies should be aware of? How can these limitations be overcome?

You can listen to this podcast live via the Web at 2 PM Eastern time, April 15, 2010 (or listen to the archive afterward). You can also call in during the show to ask questions or participate in discussion: (347) 996-5894. See here for more details.

To help me prepare for the show, please respond to the “Moderation of Social Network Sites Operated by Pharma Companies” online survey that I prepared. It will only take a few minutes of your time. Let me know whether you think pharma moderation best practice is pre-moderation, post-moderation or no moderation at all. What are the benefits/drawbacks of each? Take the survey here.