Two more online marketers will settle with the Federal Trade Commission and halt the deceptive use of fake news websites to promote açai berry supplements and "colon cleansers" as good for weight loss.
With these two settlements, eight of the 10 fake news site cases the FTC brought in 2010 are resolved, and the fake news sites affiliated with the operations have been shut down.
The settlement represents revenue from deceptive ads for açai berries, colon cleansers, and other supposed weight-loss dietary supplements, as well as other products marketed on the fake news sites. The settlement does not constitute an admission by defendants that the law was broken.
As part of the FTC's ongoing crackdown on fake news sites touting bogus health claims, the proposed settlements requires the defendants make clear that commercial messages are advertisements and not journalism, and bars them from further deceptive claims about health-related products.
We've long said to beware of supplements marketed to help weight loss or improve performance in the gym or the bedroom, and we've also covered açai products before. Along with others, we've said the claims about açai berries might be hype. We've also warned that although they might be high in antioxidants, there's little evidence that açai has the special weight-loss or other such powers that are often touted in Internet ads.
FTC Permanently Stops Two More Operations Charged with Using Fake News Sites to Deceive Consumers about Acai Berry Products, Defendants will Pay Nearly $1.5 Million to Settle Charges [FTC]
FTC Seeks to Halt 10 Operators of Fake News Sites from Making Deceptive Claims About Acai Berry Weight Loss Products [FTC]