Anyone hear this news on the mainstream media? Anyone see it in a ticker at the bottom of the screen during the top of the hour? End of the day? Beginning of the day? No? Me either. And yet, we should have.
At the beginning of the month, Facebook’s “health unit” hosted an invite-only breakfast for pharmaceutical marketers so they could learn about how to target users for clinical trials. First, they took money from Russia (and blamed them for allowing Trump to become President when they were themselves directly involved) and now this.
(I’m assuming they had to do this because some drug companies have been reluctant to use Facebook due to concerns that patients might share “sensitive information”- you know, like medical side effects and adverse events. As you might have already assumed, pharmaceutical companies want to be able to control the narrative about their products.)
Oh and this wasn’t even their first event for drug marketers! In June the company hosted a summit to pitch their platform as an “alternative to traditional television and print media ads.”1
See for yourself:
“Facebook is already widely used by clinical trial recruiters. The sector is a massive revenue opportunity for the company. Research firm eMarketerdsfads estimates that pharma and health-care marketers will spend $3.1 billion on digital advertising by 2020, up from $1.9 billion last year.” 2
Part of the meeting detailed how drug marketers could and could not target users. For instance, users can’t be targeted based on health conditions like insomnia (not limited to clinical trials) but they can be targeted by demographics and their expressed interests, or likes (however they can’t get that info from health groups on FB that people may be a part of).
I wonder if drug makers will target ME for a clinical trial. Can you imagine? Do us a favor, if you get targeted, share the information with us!