DSSRC Administrative Closure #110
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (“DSSRC”) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding two Youtube posts, two Facebook posts and an Instagram post that were identified during DSSRC’s monitoring of the direct selling industry and disseminated by Company salesforce members.
The first Youtube video claimed that Company salesforce members could become “debt-free” by participating in the business opportunity and “drug-free” by virtue of using the Company products. The second Youtube video stated that the Company’s products will strengthen the respiratory system and enlarge red blood cells. Moreover, one Facebook posts that originated overseas referenced the Company’s product in relation to the coronavirus. A second Facebook post discussed how antioxidants in the Company’s product eliminate free radicals which in turn cause cancer. Lastly, DSSRC identified an Instagram post claiming that ingredients in the Company’s product had antibacterial, antiviral, anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
As DSSRC has noted in several previous self-regulatory inquiries, advertising and marketing materials that reference a product’s ability to treat or address the symptoms of health-related conditions must be supported by reliable and competent scientific evidence, which has been defined by the Federal Trade Commission as "tests, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results." Moreover, according to the Center of Disease Controls and the Food and Drug Administration, there are currently no dietary supplement products available that can treat the coronavirus or its symptoms.
Following the Company’s receipt of the DSSRC inquiry, DSSRC was informed that the Company had contacted all of the salesforce members responsible for the posts. Subsequently, the two Youtube videos were disabled and the Instagram post was taken down, as was the Facebook post referencing antioxidants in the Company’s product which eliminate free radicals. Finally, the Facebook post that originated from outside the United States was significantly modified by eliminating any association with the Company’s product to the treatment and/or prevention of COVID-19.
DSSRC noted that the Company’s efforts, particularly with respect to overseas posts demonstrated a good faith effort to address DSSRC’s concerns within the context and spirit of industry self-regulation. Accordingly, DSSRC administratively closed its inquiry based upon the Company’s actions to contact the salesforce members responsible for the posts and have the posts removed as quickly as possible.
(closed on 12/14/2020)