Saying “Thanks” on a Social Post Leads to Warning Letter
Do not engage with customer “disease” testimonials
If a company engages with a post on its social media wall, this is considered “endorsing the testimonial” and is marketing. It has been quite a while since we have seen a company cited for this, and honestly, I thought FDA had stopped enforcing this until the recent warning letter.
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There are a few interesting aspects to this warning letter.
Even saying “thanks for commenting” or “liking” a post is an “endorsement.” Based on this, I guess that smiley face emojis should also be avoided when posts have a disease or disease-treatment claims. The lesson here is that any engagement turns a customer comment into a marketing claim. Companies should review old social posts to ensure there is no engagement on customer comments with disease-type claims. FDA may look back several years on a company’s social media page.
Claims made on Amazon and Walmart are cited in this letter. Companies commonly focus on website compliance but often overlook “old” marketing statements on these platforms. FDA is paying close attention to these platforms.
This was part of the “Big 7” cardiovascular-related warning letters from a few weeks ago, which show that even talking about diagnostics related to heart disease, such as “lowers LDLs” can lead to a warning letter. I write about this in detail here.
From warning letter. “You also endorsed the following responses to your post by liking them: “I just got my blood test back my total cholesterol went down 56 points and my bad cholesterol went down 82 points.”
FDA cited claims made on a company testimonials page. The authorities have been “hands off” with non-curated, non-compensated, third-party product reviews. These cross the line into marketing if they are showcased on banners or, in this case, on a specific testimonials page.
Disclaimer: The educational information provided here is for informational purposes only. Contact an attorney for specific legal advice. Rule #1 in compliance is to ensure marketing is truthful and not misleading.