NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - https://archive.org/web/.

FTC freezes 10 operations using fake news websites to market acai berry weight-loss products

On the NPR Shots blog, Scott Hensley reports: “This Just In: Fake News Is No Way To Sell Acai Berries.” Excerpt:

“Some marketers of weight-loss products containing acai berries are also purveyors of news you shouldn’t use, the Federal Trade Commission says.

The FTC has asked federal courts to put a stop to the activities of 10 different outfits that the commission alleges use “fake news websites” to tout acai berry weight-loss products.

Chances are you’ve stumbled across the sites, which often sport the logos of major mainstream news organizations, such as ABC, CNN and Consumer Reports. (See this example posted by the FTC.)

Take, for example the FTC’s complaint against Beony International LLC, a company based in San Diego.

The company allegedly ran sites with names such as “News 6 News Alerts,” “Health News Health Alerts,” and “Health 6 Beat Health News.” The sites feature purportedly objective investigative reports of acai products by reporters, who supposedly tried the stuff “and experienced dramatic and positive results.”

The blog post also includes links to examples and complaints posted by the FTC, a Consumer Reports feature on acai scams and this Better Business Bureau video warning about free trial scams.

Unfortunately, every day in our nationwide scan of health news stories, we see REAL news stories that look like advertising. So advertising that is made to look like news is not surprising.

You might also like

Comments

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.

Comments are closed.