DSSRC Administrative Closure #267
The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) regarding ten product claims and four earning claims disseminated on social media by Company salesforce members. The claims at issue were disseminated
on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
DSSRC contacted the Company and expressed concern that the posts included representations that prospective salesforce members can achieve “financial freedom” and/or earn substantial income through participation of the Company’s business opportunity. In addition, some of the posts communicated the message that the Company’s products could treat a series of health-related conditions including arthritis, eczema and boosting the immune system which could prevent other illnesses.
The Company acknowledged that the product and earnings claims at issue were not appropriate and did not attempt to provide evidence to support the claims. Shortly after commencement of the inquiry, the Company began contacting the salesforce members responsible for the posts in question to have the claims removed. The Company was successful in removing six out of the fourteen social media posts that were identified by DSSRC. The Company also informed DSSRC that it would use its best efforts to ensure that the Company’s distributors refrain from communicating similar claims in the future.
With respect to the remaining eight posts, the Company demonstrated to DSSRC that it made a good-faith effort to have the posts removed or significantly modified. Specifically, the Company provided DSSRC with documentation of the specific enforcement actions that have been taken against each of the salesforce members who were unresponsive to the Company’s requests for removal or modification of the posts and including suspension or termination of their member accounts with the Company.
DSSRC determined the actions taken by the Company to be necessary and appropriate. In addition, and as DSSRC has noted in previous inquiries, if a non-compliant post was made by a salesforce member that later became inactive (or, as here, terminated by the Company), 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 website or platform without a reporting mechanism, DSSRC recommends that the Company should also contact the website or platform in writing and request removal of the subject claim or post. After discussions with DSSRC, the Company agreed to take the additional steps outlined above.
In conclusion, DSSRC determined that the Company demonstrated that it made a bona fide, good faith attempt to address DSSRC’s concerns and have the social media posts at issue removed. Given the Company’s concerted efforts to address DSSRC’s concerns, this inquiry was administratively closed.
(Administrative Closure #267, closed on 03/06/23)
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