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