Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Ad uses AI-edited videos of Henry Omaga-Diaz, Doc Willie Ong

JB R. Deveza

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FACT CHECK: Ad uses AI-edited videos of Henry Omaga-Diaz, Doc Willie Ong
A video promoting a supposed cure for hypertension falsely links ABS-CBN anchor Henry Omaga-Diaz and cardiologist Dr. Willie Ong to a nutrition consultancy service firm

Claim: A news report by ABS-CBN anchor Henry Omaga-Diaz featured cardiologist and online health personality Dr. Willie Ong, also known as Doc Willie, promoting an “innovative” cure for hypertension. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The video appeared as a reel posted by Facebook user “Inzu thaulestu” on January 2. It has garnered 1,000 likes, 110 comments, 67 shares, and 136,000 views as of writing. 

The video shows Omaga-Diaz, a news anchor of ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol, supposedly reporting on a cure for hypertension and mentioning boxing icon Manny Pacquiao who allegedly tried the “revolutionary remedy.” The second part of the clip shows Ong supposedly explaining the benefits of the product.

The video is a Facebook ad that, unlike organic social media posts, appears on people’s feeds regardless of virality. Paid ads on Facebook and other social media platforms appear in timelines, sidebars, and reels of targeted groups and do not depend on the number of likes, shares, and engagements for increased visibility.

The ad’s comments section appears to have been disabled, preventing viewers from reading about other people’s comments regarding the product.

Clicking the ‘Learn More’ tab leads viewers to NutriFit, a diet and nutrition consultancy firm website. The firm charges $49 to $99 for courses that include healthy food recipes. 

The facts: The ad uses two AI-manipulated video clips of Omaga-Diaz and Ong to make it appear that they are promoting the product and the firm providing nutrition consultancy services.

“This video appears to have been manipulated,” Arlene B. Burgos, head for Engagement and Partnerships of ABS-CBN News Digital, told Rappler in an email.

“It definitely did not come from ABS-CBN News,” Burgos added, referring to the first part of the ad. 

AI disinformation: Netherlands-based AI detection tool Sensity found the video featuring Omaga-Diaz as “suspicious” with a 99% confidence level. 

“High confidence indicates that the detector has found definite signals of AI generation or manipulation. Minimum confidence for this detector is 50%,” Sensity noted. 

Meanwhile, the clip that shows Ong supposedly talking about the product is a re-dubbed version of a 2018 video from Ong’s official YouTube channel, where he gave tips on how to control various ailments such as hypertension and diabetes.

Rappler has previously debunked false claims made through AI-manipulated videos, such as this one using the voices of television news anchors in a fake video report. – Rappler.com

JB R. Deveza is an Aries Rufo Journalism Fellow for 2023-2024

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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