DSSRC Administrative Closure #27

DSSRC contacted a direct selling company about two social media posts disseminated by its salesforce members. The subject social media posts came to DSSRC’s attention pursuant to its independent monitoring of advertising in the direct selling marketplace. Specifically, DSSRC expressed concern that two YouTube videos disseminated by salesforce members conveyed unsubstantiated product, health and wellness benefits that the Company’s direct selling products can protect against COVID-19.

With respect to the one of the videos, the direct selling company determined that the video was posted by an active distributor living in the United States. The company promptly wrote to the distributor and advised the that the video was not in compliance with the company’s policies and requested that it be removed. Receiving no response, the company thereafter wrote again, placed the distributor’s account on an administrative hold, and advised the distributor that, if the violation were not corrected within five days, the company would suspend the account. The next Day the distributor replied, stating that he had removed the video. DSSRC confirmed that the video has been removed.

With respect to the other video, the company was unable to identify the person who posted the video. Consequently, the company’s compliance manager attempted to have the video removed directly by YouTube. On four occasions, the compliance manager attempted to have the video taken down by using the “report video” button, but the video was not taken down. Thereafter, the company contacted YouTube to assert a “legal claim” with respect to the video which resulted in the removal of the video from the platform. Subsequently, on further investigation, the company was able to ascertain that the subject video was posted by an active distributor who lives in a foreign market. The company referred this matter to its foreign affiliate for further investigation and, if appropriate, disciplinary action.

DSSRC expressed its appreciation to the Company for its expedited efforts to remove these video posts by distributors suggesting that its products can treat COVID-19 and/or the symptoms associated with the condition. Based upon prompt actions taken by the Company to remove the posts, DSSRC administratively closed the inquiry.

(closed on 5/19/2020)