DSSRC Administrative Closure #76
Social media advertising for a direct selling company that markets health and wellness products came to the attention of the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) pursuant to its monitoring of the direct selling industry. DSSRC identified three Facebook posts that were disseminated by Company salesforce members as communicating egregious health-related claims. One post stated “build your immune system to fight virus and disease” and was accompanied by a list of several health-related conditions that the product purportedly treats (e.g., “Improve Brain Function,” “Fight Cellular Disease,” “Anti-Glycemic Activity, etc.). In addition, two separate posts implied that the product would “strengthen your immune system and protect yourself from viruses.”
DSSRC contacted the Company and noted that, unless specifically indicated otherwise, consumers can reasonably interpret general claims that a product can treat or protect against the virus as being inclusive of the coronavirus. DSSRC also noted that it is inappropriate to represent that a product or service can prevent, treat, or cure human health-related conditions unless a company possesses competent and reliable scientific evidence, including, when appropriate, well-controlled human clinical studies, substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made. Moreover, DSSRC stated that no such study is currently known to exist for the product or its ingredients that was the subject of the inquiry.
The Company did not dispute the inaccuracy of the posts which were immediately removed after receipt of the self-regulatory inquiry. The Company noted that it would increase its compliance monitoring of social media posts to ensure that no other salesforce members disseminate similar posts and continue to educate the field about the implication of virus claims.
DSSRC expressed its appreciation to the Company for its prompt actions and, as a result of its immediate and good faith actions, administratively closed the inquiry.
(closed on 10/8/2020)