DSSRC Administrative Closure #273

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company (“Company”) that markets CBD products regarding fifteen product performance claims disseminated on social media by Company salesforce members. More specifically, the claims at issue were disseminated on Facebook and Instagram.

DSSRC contacted the Company and expressed its concern that the product performance posts included representations that the Company’s products could treat a series of health-related conditions including, but not limited to diabetes, nicotine addiction, arthritis, Autism, and insomnia.

The Company recognized that the product performance 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 requesting that the subject claims be removed. The Company was successful in removing eight out of the fifteen social media posts that were identified by DSSRC.

Three of the remaining seven posts were disseminated by an individual living in the United Kingdom. Several attempts were made to contact this individual, and copies of the correspondence were provided to DSSRC. The individual did not respond to the Company’s emails. Consequently, the individual’s account was terminated.

Two individuals residing in the United Kingdom were responsible for two of the remaining seven social media posts. Both individuals were willing to comply to the Company’s removal requests of the posts but neither individual had access to the social media account that created the post.1 Copies of the Company’s correspondence to both individuals was provided to DSSRC. In an effort to have the posts removed, the individual and the Company have flagged the images and reported them to Facebook as providing “False Information”. The individuals’ affiliate accounts are currently still enabled, but the Company informed DSSRC that neither person has been an active promoter since 2021.

With respect to the final two posts that remain publicly available, the Company attempted to reach out to the two individuals responsible for the posts several times, requesting that they be removed. Neither individual responded to the Company’s out-reach and, consequently, their accounts were terminated and the Company reported the matter to the respective social media platforms.

The Company also explained to DSSRC that it has developed a comprehensive action plan to monitor and train its salesforce members, ensuring compliance with FDA and FTC regulations. The plan involves a multifaceted approach to prevent impermissible structure-function claims about the Company’s product and is centered on five pillars: Training and Education; Monitoring and Evaluation; Corrective Action and Accountability; Ongoing Support and Resources; and Third-Party Brand Monitoring Software.

The Company emphasized to DSSRC that it is committed to ensuring that its salesforce members act in full compliance with FDA and FTC regulations and was confident that its action plan will provide a strong foundation for monitoring and training of its salesforce members.

DSSRC determined the actions taken by the company were necessary and appropriate. As DSSRC has noted in past cases, it is well established that health-related claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. The Federal Trade Commission generally defines competent and reliable scientific evidence as: “test, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results”.2

In conclusion, DSSRC determined that the Company demonstrated that it made a genuine, good faith attempt to address the concerns at issue by removing eight of the fifteen posts that were brought to its attention and taking the appropriate steps to have the remaining social media post at issue removed including the termination of salesforce members that were unresponsive to the Company’s take-down requests.

Given the Company’s bona fide efforts to address DSSRC’s concerns, the inquiry was administratively closed.


(Administrative Closure #273 closed on 5/08/23) 
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[1] One individual explained to DSSRC that he used an affiliate agency to create the post and the agency is no longer in business.

[2] See, Vital Basics, Inc., C-4107 (Consent April 26, 2004); see also In Re Schering