YouTube: 'Dana Perino CBD' Scam Videos Promising Dementia Treatment Don't Violate Policies (2024)

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A YouTube spokesperson sent a statement to Snopes running counter to the company's own policies regarding spam, deceptive practices and scams.

Jordan Liles

Published July 3, 2024

YouTube: 'Dana Perino CBD' Scam Videos Promising Dementia Treatment Don't Violate Policies (1)

Image courtesy of Flamengo Online/YouTube

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On May 30, 2024, the Flamengo Online YouTube channel posted a video (archived) titled, "Dana Perino Bloom CBD Gummies Really Work? ((BIG ALERT)) Dana Perino CBD - Dana Perino CBD Gummies." The same channel reposted the clip on June 13 (archived) and June 19 (archived).

In the videos, an unidentified woman falsely claimed Fox News host Dana Perino owned a product line of CBD gummies. The woman also falsely claimed Perino's supposed gummy product treated dementia and pointed viewers to an "official" product-purchase link in the videos' descriptions and pinned comments.

"So, basically today I'm here to talk to you about the Dana Perino CBD gummies," the woman in the videos said. "Stay tuned. I even left their official webpage right here below this video, so if you do want to purchase it, you can go directly there. But guys, what is really great about these gummies is that they do help you to treat dementia." Later in the videos, she made additional misleading claims about the product's purported ability to treat Alzheimer's disease.

YouTube: 'Dana Perino CBD' Scam Videos Promising Dementia Treatment Don't Violate Policies (2)

As we previously reported, Perino has no involvement with CBD gummies. Further, we found no credible evidence tying CBD gummies to the treatment of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. The website for the British Alzheimer's Society published, "There are no research studies that prove cannabis, or products such as cannabis oil (CBD oil), can stop, slow, reverse or prevent the diseases that cause dementia."

We contacted the Flamengo Online YouTube channel via WhatsApp to ask about its promotion of scam videos but had not received a response as of this writing. We will update this story if more details come to light.

YouTube's Response to Snopes

In response to our inquiry about the videos, a YouTube spokesperson told Snopes in an email on June 28, "YouTube has clear policies that prohibit scams and other deceptive practices and we enforce them rigorously. Upon review, the videos shared by Snopes do not violate our policies."

The spokesperson also linked us to a pagehostingYouTube's "spam, deceptive practices and scams policies."

However, that policy page perfectly described the three videos uploaded to the Flamengo Online YouTube channel. The page read, "YouTube doesn't allow spam, scams or other deceptive practices that take advantage of the YouTube community. We also don't allow content where the main purpose is to trick others into leaving YouTube for another site. If you find content that violates this policy, report it."

Snopes reported the "Dana Perino CBD gummies" videos to YouTube, as their policy page recommended. Pulling words directly from the YouTube policy, the "main purpose" of the Flamengo Online scammers' videos was to "trick others into leaving YouTube for another site" after listening to the unidentified woman falsely claim Perino endorsed dementia-treating CBD gummies.

We emailed YouTube again after receiving their spokesperson's response but did not hear back within five days.

The Enormity of This Scam Operation

Our past research into these specific scams found a large operation of YouTubers posting scammy videos under the guise of affiliate marketing.

The scam operation involved Flamengo Online and at least dozens of other popular YouTube channels. These channels mostly originally built up their subscriber bases by posting music videos or sports clips. After the channels' owners grew their subscriber numbers to tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of users, someone in control of the channels began posting scammy videos about medicinal products. The videos displayed external links to product-purchase pages, found in both the videos' descriptions and pinned comments. These products did not feature familiar names, nor would Americans be able to find the products in local pharmacies.

Many of the scam operation's videos showed signs of possibly displaying inauthentic numbers for views and likes. Further, the videos' positive comments also appeared fake. For example, one video on the Flamengo Online channel displayed a comment with an incomplete sentence, reading, "Thanks for all of the great information. I will be." A completely different account also submitted a new comment (not a reply) finishing the other user's sentence, writing, "giving CBD gummies a try soon." In other words, one person appeared to log in and out of multiple accounts while copying and pasting prewritten remarks, all to populate positive comments under the video, just as they also did for so many other videos.

Users in control of the channels posted videos of the same unidentified woman who misinformed viewers about "Dana Perino CBD gummies" as a dementia treatment. The channels' videos also featured other men and women who promoted additional medicinal products. Many of the products in the scammy videos promised miraculous results regarding a number of medical issues. The "About" tab for each of the channels usually displayed its owner's physical location as Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru or some other Central American or South American country.

YouTube: 'Dana Perino CBD' Scam Videos Promising Dementia Treatment Don't Violate Policies (3)The same woman who promoted the "Dana Perino CBD" false claim appeared on many other channels as well, including the @jostland YouTube channel.

Other prominent YouTube channels posting at least dozens or hundreds of scammy videos either currently or in the past included Astromuss Music, Lyrics de Músicas, HD Hits, MAURICIO VIDEOSHD and SOM DOS STATUSS.

Channel Owner Says Scammers Paid Him a Contract Fee

In April 2024, we contacted several of the popular YouTube channels in the scam operation to ask why they hosted the videos. In one of our inquiries to the popular channel Alda Recalde, we asked via a direct message on X why its owner recently deleted or made private its library of scammy videos. The owner of the channel responded, "The contract ended."

In other words, the owner indicated to us he accepted money on a contractual basis in order to allow other users to promote their own videos to the channel's large subscriber base – a base originally subscribing to the channel for their interest in music videos, not scams. This information meant the people appearing in the scammy videos likely did not own the channels themselves.

Snopes presented evidence of the scam network to YouTube in April. Our evidence included a detailed spreadsheet containing information about the dozens of channels, as well as a lengthy email documenting a wealth of data about the scams. Basically, we performed a lot of information gathering to help YouTube see the reality of the scam operation. However, at the time, a YouTube spokesperson told us in response, "The channels provided by Snopes do not violate our policies and as such will remain on our platform."

As of early July, the aforementioned channels and many of their scam videos remained available to YouTube users. The videos also sometimes prominently display in Google search results to people who might be seeking helpful treatment options for medical issues.

Sources

"Alzheimer's Vs Dementia - What's The Difference?" UCLA Med School, 5 July 2023, https://medschool.ucla.edu/news-article/alzheimers-vs-dementia-what-is-the-difference.

"Cannabis, CBD Oil and Dementia." Alzheimer's Society, https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/treatments/alternative-therapies/cannabis-cbd-oil-and-dementia.

Liles, Jordan. "Dana Perino Is Leaving Fox News' 'The Five' Due to 'Tensions' with Sean Hannity?" Snopes, 21 May 2024, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/dana-perino-leaving-the-five/.

"Spam, Deceptive Practices, & Scams Policies." YouTube Help, https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2801973?hl=en.

By Jordan Liles

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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YouTube: 'Dana Perino CBD' Scam Videos Promising Dementia Treatment Don't Violate Policies (2024)
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