The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a procedural document called the “Guidance for Industry” in December. While policy documents from government agencies are typically full of bureaucratic catch phrases and non-sensical rules and such, there was a little nugget in this one that could be an interesting milestone in the history of social media.

The FDA has a line in the document, which specifically speaks to what it calls, “Emerging Electronic Media,” that is quite profound. The line says brands are capable of responding responsibly through social media regarding their product. But here’s where it gets profound. They say brands are capable (can) respond in an, “honest, non-misleading and accurate manner.” (Page 3, lines 83 and 84, in case you’re looking for it.)

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Isn’t that what the point of the Cluetrain and the social movement has been striving for? Is this government acknowledgement that what the people really want is honest, transparent and fair information?

Yes, there are still layers of crazy rules for pharma and what-not, but at least these regulations are, amidst all the legal mumbo-jumbo and cover-my-ass dogma, ringing true the core tenants of what customers really do want and need from their interactions with brands.

I say it’s a step in the right direction. What say you?

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • Keri at Idea Girl Media


    Yes, a step in the right direction – For one department.

    The question is…  Is the public ready?  ;)


    • JasonFalls

      Great question, Keri. I’m not sure.

  • Jeffrey Moore

    Love this positive dig from an FDA ruling where most comments on it show that big companies are reading it for what they can’t do. We’re with you that pharma needs to be moving proactively and medical device should be in social in a big way now.
    I think the point of your article is that the public is ready and willing to participate with these brnads and that the right thing to do has an obviousness to it.

  • catlouisville

    I’ve actually been amazed at the resources various government agencies are now providing that are pro-consumer and/or provide transparency. Check out - you can sign up for email alerts for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notices. And they even segment it, so you can self-select the type of products that are of interest (i.e. household products vs. infant/child products).

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    I think this can change the concept of reactions for others

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