DSSRC Administrative Closure #153
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding two Facebook posts and a Slideshare presentation that were identified pursuant to DSSRC’s independent monitoring of marketing claims in the direct selling industry. The two Facebook posts included claims that the Company’s product could treat COVID-19 and its accompanying symptoms. The Slideshare presentation included earnings representations which communicated that Company salesforce members could become financially independent and earn significant income by participating in the Company’s business opportunity.
Shortly after its receipt of the inquiry, the Company informed DSSRC that the two Facebook posts were disseminated by inactive salesforce members from Malaysia. The Company was able to identify one of the distributors and that post was removed. Conversely, the Company was unable to identify the salesforce member responsible for the second Facebook post. The Company attempted to email the salesforce member but did not receive a response. Subsequently, the Company wrote to Facebook and requested that the post be removed.
Similarly, the Company was not able to identify the distributor who posted the Slideshare video. The Company wrote to Slideshare and requested removal. Slideshare honored the Company’s request and suspended all of the links that were submitted by the Company.
As DSSRC has noted in several previous inquiries, once a direct selling company learns that an inactive salesforce member has disseminated a post that includes language not authorized by the company, the company should make a bona fide, good faith effort to contact the individual to request that the improper claim be removed. DSSRC also recommends that the company take additional steps to remove such claims from the marketplace including utilizing the mechanism that websites and social media platforms may have for removal of trademark or copyright violations. If the subject claim by a former salesforce member occurs on a platform without a reporting mechanism, DSSRC recommends that the company should also contact the platform in writing and request removal of the subject claim or post.
DSSRC determined that, here, the Company made a bonafide effort to address its concerns by effectuating the removal of the Slideshare video which included earnings claims. Moreover, the Company was successful in removing one of the Malaysian Facebook posts and used its best efforts to address the second post that originated from the same country. Accordingly, DSSRC administratively closed the inquiry pursuant to the DSSRC Policy & Procedures.
(closed on 04/01/21)