DSSRC Administrative Closure #77

The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) contacted a direct selling company regarding three Facebook posts disseminated by its salesforce members. The subject claims and 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 communicated the message that the Company’s products can protect children and adults from the COVID-19 virus.

One post included a picture of a man in a surgical mask accompanied by the word “CORONAVIRUS” in bold text. Text above the posts states that the Company’s products can strengthen the immune system and protect your body. A second post featured an animated drawing of two children in surgical masks below text imploring parents to “protect your children.” The post also includes the company hashtag along with #coronavirus and #COVID19.  The final post was disseminated by a Spanish-language salesforce member and featured a man dressed in full surgical protective gear and invites readers to ask him about the Company’s product to protect them from COVID-19. 

In its response, the Company advised DSSRC that the posts did not derive from its corporate account, but rather from independent consultants located in the United States, Mexico and Malaysia. In addition, the Company stated that the United States post was immediately removed and that it had contacted the proper administrators in Mexico and Malaysia with the objective of deleting those posts. Shortly after receipt of the Company’s correspondence, DSSRC confirmed that the two remaining posts from Mexico and Malaysia were disabled. 

DSSRC was appreciative of the Company’s good faith actions and noted that the Company’s efforts were necessary and warranted. There are no approved vaccines, investigational products currently available to treat or prevent COVID-19 and DSSRC reminded the Company to exercise extreme caution in the dissemination of health-related product claims in their marketing materials and neither the Company nor its salesforce members should imply that its products treat or alleviate the symptoms of COVID-19.

Based upon the Company’s prompt removal of all of the posts at issue including the disabling of those social media posts that originated outside of the United States, DSSRC administratively closed its inquiry pursuant to section 2(II)(6) of the DSSRC Procedures. 

(closed on 10/9/2020)