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Estrada wants probe on fake online celebrity endorsements


Senator Jinggoy Estrada wants an investigation into the spread of fake online celebrity endorsements.
Courtesy: Senate of the Philippines

Fake online advertisements

In a statement, Senator Jinggoy Estrada said he filed Senate Resolution No. 666 to call for a Senate inquiry into the proliferation of online celebrity endorsements scams and deceptive social media postings in relation to the advertisement and selling of various unregistered food and drug products.

In his Senate Resolution No. 666, the senator cited the risks that the scam poses to consumers.

These advertisements mislead consumers into believing that these celebrities are using and endorsing food and medicinal products that are actually unregistered before the proper health authorities and not yet approved for mass distribution and public consumption, he said.

These bogus medicinal remedies being sold on social media platforms is viewed and even shared by thousands of consumers, providing them with inaccurate and false information about the efficacy, quality, and safety of food, drugs, and health products, Estrada added.

The circulation and proliferation of fraudulent online advertisements are clear and blatant violations of the Consumer Act, which penalizes the dissemination of deceptive and misleading sales promotion practices, he noted.

Estrada also cited reports on the alleged product endorsements of Dr. Willie Ong, an internist, and cardiologist with a huge social media following, regarding a "miracle food" in the form of mixed nuts. Another case involved Dr. Tony Leachon, whose name and pictures were used to imply his personal endorsement of a product as a cure for diabetes.

There is an urgent need to protect consumers against the consumption of unregistered and potentially harmful food and health products through the strict enforcement of the provisions of the Consumer Act and regulation of fraudulent advertisements on social media platforms, the senator said.

Estrada noted the need to identify and address possible loopholes in the country's existing laws and regulations. It is also vital to update their provisions, considering the extensive use of social media platforms and cyberspace, as well as the alarming use of maliciously manipulated images, spliced videos, and fabricated statements in the promotion of food and health products, he added.

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