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FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong ad for heart ailment cure is AI-manipulated


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FACT CHECK: Doc Willie Ong ad for heart ailment cure is AI-manipulated
The VascuHealth ad uses part of a video earlier posted on Ong’s Facebook page. Ong doesn’t mention VascuHealth in the original video.

Claim: Cardiologist and online health personality Dr. Willie Ong, also known as Doc Willie, endorses the product VascuHealth, which claims to treat multiple heart conditions, like palpitation, irregular heartbeat, heart enlargement, and clogged arteries.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook post bearing the claim, uploaded on March 15, 2024, has over 89,000 views, 1,700 reactions, and 1,600 comments as of writing.

The facts: Ong does not endorse VascuHealth, and the video of Ong seemingly talking about the product is AI-manipulated. 

The VascuHealth ad used a clip from the 0:03 to 0:45 mark of the original video uploaded by Ong on his official account earlier, on February 23, 2024. He did not mention VascuHealth throughout the video.

The ad also manipulated the mouth movements and audio of the original video to make it seem like Ong endorsed the product. 

Sensity, a tool designed to detect AI manipulation, flagged the video as “suspicious” with a 99.9% 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. 

Founded in 2018, the Netherlands-based company specializes in detecting “deepfakes and other forms of malicious visual media.”


Not FDA-registered: Despite showing a photo of an alleged Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certificate, VascuHealth is not in the Philippine FDA’s list of registered food and drug products. 

Previous false claims: Ong has repeatedly told Rappler in previous correspondence that he does not endorse various health products attributed to him. Rappler has fact-checked similar claims of products using Ong’s name, audio, and video in false advertisements:

– Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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 the #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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