DSSRC Administrative Closure #71
DSSRC contacted a direct selling company regarding five Facebook 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 the social media posts conveyed unsubstantiated product health and wellness benefit claims related to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The first post featured a photograph of the Company’s product and referenced social distancing and safety-first measures and the current health crisis as the time to boost our immune system to protect against coronavirus. The second post featured a video from a company salesforce member and health care worker who stated that she had been infected with the coronavirus and that she had recovered due to taking the Company’s product. The third post was made by a woman who was a cancer survivor and who stated that her recovery was attributable, in part, from using the Company’s product. The fourth post included an animated picture of a man holding out his hand to prevent a large coronavirus particle from reaching him and was accompanied by text stating that use of the product would be effective in boosting the immune system and ensuring that the body has enough nutrients to fight the spreading pandemic. Finally, the fifth Facebook post was made by a coronavirus survivor and suggested that the Company’s product was effective to treat the virus.
After commencement of the inquiry, DSSRC was informed that all of the posts were made by salesforce members living in Southeast Asia. As the jurisdiction of DSSRC is limited to the review of product and business opportunity claims that originate in the United States, the social media posts at issue were not within the jurisdiction of DSSRC. Notwithstanding, DSSRC corresponded with the direct selling company’s Senior Vice President in North America to advise him of the gravity of the claims and to suggest contacting the Company’s General Manager in that country to address the social media posts. The Company’s North American Senior Vice President subsequently informed DSSRC that he has been in contact with the General Manager of the region from where the posts originated and would continue corresponding with his colleague in Southeast Asia in a good faith attempt to remove the posts if, in fact, they are in violation of local regulations.
Accordingly, pursuant to the voluntary actions taken by the direct selling company and the fact that the advertising falls outside of the jurisdictional purview of DSSRC, the case was administratively closed. DSSRC will nevertheless continue to monitor the status of the claims.
(closed on 9/14/2020)