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FTC Targets Acai Berry Fake News Sites

FTC Targets Acai Berry Fake News Sites

“Acai Berry EXPOSED – Health Reporter Discovers the Shocking Truth.” If you’ve spent any time online, chances are you’ve seen these ads disguised as news stories. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has, and is taking steps to put a stop to what it calls deceptive advertising.

The FTC wants six federal courts to stop ten operations from using fake news websites to push acai berry weight-loss products, asking the court to freeze the operations’ assets pending trial.

The websites in question are made to look as though they are news-gathering organizations when they are only advertisements for acai berry weight-loss products.

With key phrases like “News 6 News Alerts,” or “Health News Health Alerts,” the sites include names and logos of legitimate news organizations, claiming that the “news” reports have been seen on those networks.

In an FTC press release, David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said:

“Almost everything about these sites is fake.The weight loss results, the so-called investigations, the reporters, the consumer testimonials, and the attempt to portray an objective, journalistic endeavor.”

The FTC wants the courts to permanently bar what it views as deceptive claims, accusing the defendants of:

  • making false and unsupported claims that acai berry supplements will cause rapid and substantial weight loss

and they “deceptively represent” that:

  • their websites are objective news reports;
  • independent tests demonstrate the effectiveness of the product, and comments following the “articles” on their websites reflect the views of independent consumers; and
  • they fail to disclose their financial relationships to the merchants selling the products.

The FTC says it has received numerous consumer complaints about the fake news sites.

Another case against a fake news website to promote acai berry weight-loss products is being filed by the Illinois Attorney General’s office.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

 

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Image: istockphoto.com


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20 comments

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12:51PM PST on Dec 3, 2012

Hmm well there are a LOT of products and services doing the same thing. It feels a little weird for them to be targeting one product as if it were causing this kind of advertising behavior. Perhaps it would be more productive to target the companies providing the service? Or is that not the point?

11:24PM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

If you want to lose weight there is no magic bullet. Exercise (you can't lose weight without it) and watching your intake on fat calories will work.

11:18PM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

Don't blame the berry. There are products of the berry on market that do improve health. I have used it and have lowered cholesterol and triglycerides levels. I know this because it was the only change I made. Diet and medicines were taken exactly the same. Life style was the same except intake on regular schedule of the product. I write this not to promote a product but to stop the burying of a good thing for the actions of crooked get rich quick promoters who will try this for the next popular product. They prey on the low self-esteems and those who don't research the process before jumping in, the easy touches. Say the right pitch, charge as much as you dare, and get rich by collecting from the mass contributors who were duped by false promises. The Acai Berry is healthy when used as such, but nothing comes quick except debt.

3:36PM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

It's a pity that as soon as the legitimate claim is made for a natural occuring super food that the powers that be abuse natures gift by making outragious claims and by doing so attract the notice of the equally criminal Big Pharma and the FDA . The counter forces of mankind are always at war with each other, pulling rank abusing their advantage and caring not whom they hurt and disenfranchise. If we want to survive the coming chaos we will have to stop being so confrontational..

12:17PM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

You can tell from a mile away that these "news" clips are fake. Don't watch them if you don't want to be exposed to fake claims.

11:47AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

I want to eat fresh acai berries. I never had them.

10:08AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

To bad they wouldn't do the same with Americas Bullshit Broadcaster Fox and its many (all) misinformation programs

9:26AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

This is good to know as I don't watch much network news. Did this even show up in the mass media?

9:00AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

Why so quick to jump on the acai adds? How long has FOX NEWS been around? I don't see the FTC doing anything about FOX NEWS' "false and unsupported claims" of "objective news reports." WTF? At least everyone who sees those acai adds knows it's not real news

8:45AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

It is just bizarre to imagine that kind of ad because here in Brazil it is common knowledge that açaí is absurdly caloric. It's soup is in some places a meal!

Anyway, its just sad that people make up that kind of information.

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