Pfizer's Facebook page was hacked July 19, and after a temporary takedown, the Facebook.com/Pfizer page is back up.
"As you might have noticed, our Page was compromised last night. We have been working with Facebook to understand what happened so we can guard against it in the future," wrote the company on its Facebook wall yesterday. "Thank you for your patience while our page has been down, and we are pleased to be sharing our news with you once more."
Reportedly, a hacker group called Script Kiddies commandeered the Facebook page, calling Pfizer "corrupt," and noting that "the damage they create is senseless." A screenshot of the hacked posts was published on TheHawthorneEffect.com
Pharma marketers are already concerned about a new Facebook rule that will force many of their pages to enable user comments starting August 15. Pharma brands are highly risk averse when it comes to discussions about their drugs and products in social media environments, but the company said the decision was made in an effort to keep Facebook a forum for open dialogue.
Calling the hack a "learning experience," Pfizer's VP Corporate Communications Raymond Kerins Jr. said the hack will have no impact on the other drug brand or disease-related Facebook pages it operates. "This environment is one that is dynamic and we're watching very closely," he said, referring to Facebook. "It's really an important channel that patients and doctors have decided this is how they want to communicate."
The hack is a "security issue" rather than "a Pfizer or pharma issue," suggested Jim Dayton, senior director of emerging media at Intouch Solutions, a pharma marketing agency.
Still, he's concerned it could have a chilling effect on pharma marketing in social media platforms. "My fear is that this will just be another incident that pharma companies will use to justify their lack of involvement in social media," he continued.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.