Fact checks on health products and scams

FACT CHECK: Fake ads for hair growth product use Doc Willie Ong’s videos


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FACT CHECK: Fake ads for hair growth product use Doc Willie Ong’s videos
Similar misleading ads using the images of the popular online health guru are rampant on social media platforms

Claim: Cardiologist and online health personality Dr. Willie Ong, also known as Doc Willie, is promoting the hair growth product Hairtech, as seen in several ads on Facebook. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found in posts on several Facebook pages:

  • A July 29 post on the page “HairTech – Doc. Willie & Liza Ong,” with 672 reactions, 92 comments, 19 shares, and about 34,000 video views 
  • An April 3 post on the page “Miracle Hair Grower,” with about 13,000 reactions, 4,400 comments, 485 shares, and 1.2 million video views
  • An April 1 post on the page “Dr. Fix Hair PH,” with about 25,000 reactions, 7,400 comments, 1,500 shares, and 3.3 million video views
  • A March 27 post on the page “Hairtech Elegance,” with about 10,000 reactions, 4,000 comments, 760 shares, and 1.2 million video views 

Each of these posts used spliced clips taken from a February 6 video uploaded on Ong’s official YouTube channel titled “Lunas sa Manipis na Buhok. – By Doc Willie Ong (Internist and Cardiologist).” The posts, which used video snippets showing Ong and saying “100% proven,” implied that he was referring to the hair growth product Hairtech. 

Ong is known for sharing health advice on his official YouTube channel, which has about 8.72 million subscribers, and on his verified Facebook page Doc Willie Ong with about 17 million followers.

The bottom line: Ong does not promote the said Hairtech product. In the original video, Ong even said at the 10:56 timestamp: “Wala po akong ina-advertise. Ayan na naman itong mga fake ads, gagamitin na naman itong video natin. O heto po, generic sasabihin ko, wala akong brand ha.” (I am not advertising anything. Here are the fake ads again which will use our video. Here, I will mention generic names, no brands). 

Ong had said in a previous email response to Rappler that ads using his name, picture, and videos were “fake ads made by scammers.” He has also repeatedly issued warnings about these misleading ads on his Facebook (April 18) and YouTube accounts (April 18, April 19, and May 7). In these posts, and in his email to Rappler, Ong said that he currently endorses only one product, the adult milk powder drink Birch Tree Advance. 

Previous related fact-checks: Rappler has published fact-checks about misleading health advertisements before, including those using Ong’s name, pictures, and videos. – Percival Bueser/ Rappler.com 

Percival Bueser 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. 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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