DSSRC Administrative Closure #151

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding three Facebook posts that were identified by DSSRC as part of its ongoing monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry.

The three Facebook posts originated from salesforce members located overseas. The first post included the claim “PROTECT YOUR SYSTEM AGAINST THE CORONA VIRUS.” The second post touted the Company’s “immune boosting supplement against the corona virus.” The third post at issue also referenced the efficacy of the Company’s product to protect against the corona virus.

The Company immediately responded to the DSSRC inquiry and promptly removed the first and second Facebook posts. The remaining post proved more difficult for the Company to address. The post was disseminated by an inactive salesforce member located in Nigeria and, despite the Company’s efforts, it could not contact the individual. Accordingly, the Company utilized Facebook’s online mechanism to report unauthorized use of the Company’s trademark and is waiting for the platform to respond to the request.

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.

Pending Facebook’s response to the Company’s request to remove the unauthorized post from an inactive salesforce members located in Nigeria and based upon the Company’s actions to effectuate removal of the two other posts that were the subject of the self-regulatory inquiry, DSSRC determined that the Company has demonstrated that it has made a good faith effort to address the concerns of DSSRC to effectuate the removal of the three Facebook posts that were disseminated by former salesforce members located outside of the United States. As a result of these efforts, DSSRC has administratively closed its inquiry.

(closed on 03/23/2021)