Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Altered video of Doc Liza Ong used in fake ad for prostate cream

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: Altered video of Doc Liza Ong used in fake ad for prostate cream
A clip from a November 2023 YouTube video by Dr. Liza Ong was altered to falsely suggest her endorsement of a product for prostatitis

Claim: Dr. Liza Ramoso-Ong, the wife of cardiologist and online health personality Dr. Willie Ong, endorses Sumifun Prostate Cream, a product that claims to treat prostatitis.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook video bearing the claim has 426,000 views, 3,400 reactions, and 772 comments as of writing. 

A clip of the Ong couple is shown at the beginning of the video over text and images advertising the prostate cream, creating an impression they are discussing the product. 

At the 0:15 mark, another clip featuring Liza Ong is shown, where she seemingly endorses the product and claims that it cured her husband’s prostatitis, a condition where the prostate gland becomes inflamed, causing swelling and discomfort. 

The fraudulent advertisement also includes a link to a website for customers to buy the product.

The facts: The Ong couple does not endorse the product. The misleading ad uses clips taken from the Ongs’ YouTube videos, including one of Liza Ong that was manipulated to make it look like she was talking about the product. 

The short clip of the couple shown at the beginning of the video was taken from the YouTube video titled “Mga Bawal Kainin sa Prostate Problem – By Doc Willie Ong #1548” released on October 29, 2022. The video talks about ways to avoid prostatitis and urinary tract infections. There is no mention of the Sumifun Prostate Cream.

The second clip is an altered version of a video from November 2023, where Liza Ong talks about the benefits of collagen and provides tips on collagen products to improve the appearance of skin. She is seen pointing to a screen with a slideshow related to the topic. 

In the altered version used in the deceptive ad, the slideshow was replaced with visuals of the product. Ong is also shown seemingly talking about the prostate cream. A closer look at Ong’s face shows distorted details, particularly the mouth movements.

Vera Files has fact-checked a similar manipulated video also advertising a prostate cream product.

Not FDA registered: Sumifun Prostate Cream is not included in the Philippine Food and Drug Administration’s list of approved drug products.

Manipulated videos: Rappler has debunked altered videos using the images of popular personalities:

Tools using artificial intelligence, such as image manipulation and voice cloning software, have been used to spread disinformation on a larger scale. These tools can create realistic fakes of people’s faces and voices, making it easier to deceive others. (READ: AI-enabled disinformation: Waging an unviable war of scale)

Previous false claims: Rappler has fact-checked similar claims about products using Ong in false endorsements:

Chinie Ann Jocel R. Mendoza/Rappler.com

Chinie Ann Jocel R. Mendoza is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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