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Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone April 26, 2024

Deepfake video falsely pitches dietary supplement as diabetes remedy

If Your Time is short

  • A Facebook video showing Tucker Carlson and a health educator discussing a diabetes remedy is a deepfake. The speakers’ mouth movements do not align with the audio.

  • The dietary supplement pitched on a website the post links to has no connection to Pfizer, the company said. Nor was it certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which does not approve dietary supplements.

  • There is no known cure for diabetes, a disease affecting 38 million Americans.

Be wary of Facebook posts claiming to help you avoid health scams. They just might be scams themselves.

A Facebook video claims to show former Fox News host Tucker Carlson warning viewers away from Dr. Mehmet Oz’s diabetes cure scams.

"This freakin’ Dr. Oz, with his deception and nonworking remedy, simply traumatizes innocent diabetics," Carlson supposedly says in an April 23 Facebook video.

But this video is just another deception. It has the hallmarks of deepfake videos, which are common on social media, in which sometimes real videos of celebrities are paired with manipulated audio to make it seem as if the celebrities are saying something they are not. These bogus videos are often created to hawk products such as gummies or dietary supplements. Oz, a heart surgeon and former Senate candidate, has not pitched a diabetes cure, but has been the subject of numerous deepfake videos that show him hawking a cure for diabetes or other ailments

In the video, Carlson introduces Barbara O’Neill, a self-described natural health care teacher from Australia, who he said would discuss "how not to fall for such scams." O’Neill pitches a product she said was "created with Pfizer," the pharmaceutical company, and "certified" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. After one course of her $39 remedy, she said, "diabetes will go away forever."

The Facebook post links to a supposed article of an interview with O’Neill talking about a product to manage blood sugar.

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and Threads.)

The product pitched in the Facebook post’s link was not made in partnership with Pfizer, a company spokesperson told PolitiFact. 

There is no cure for diabetes, a disease affects more than 38 million adults and children in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

(Facebook screenshot)

We found numerous red flags in the Facebook post.

The first is the video itself. The audio does not match up with the mouth movements of either Carlson or O’Neill, typically a sign a video is a deepfake. We found no evidence on Carlson’s website or an episode guide that O’Neill has been a guest on Carlson’s show, "Tucker Carlson Uncensored," which streams on his website, the Tucker Carlson Network, and on X.

Second, the Facebook post links to an interview with O’Neill that is not legitimate. The page has an MSNBC logo atop it, but the URL does not contain MSNBC, as a real page from the news site would. The URL begins with "https://wellnessela.mom/." The article misspells O’Neill as O’neil and at one point refers to "his" patients.

O’Neill’s website does not list health products for sale. She offers a lecture series, a lifestyle retreat and a book for sale on her site. O’Neill ran afoul of Australian health officials in 2019 for making dubious health claims, such as that there are no safe vaccines, Vox reported in February. Clips of O’Neill’s lectures are often used by "creators selling supplements and products" on TikTok, Vox reported.

We contacted O’Neill through her website to ask whether she is affiliated with the product pitched in the Facebook post, but didn’t immediately hear back.

The Facebook video also claims the supplement was "certified by the FDA," but the product’s webpage says, "This product has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." The FDA regulates the dietary supplement industry but neither approves nor certifies products.

An FDA spokesperson told PolitiFact that the agency doesn’t approve dietary supplements for any purpose, and that dietary supplements, unlike drugs, legally cannot make claims to treat diseases.

The Facebook video’s claim that Carlson and O’Neill discussed a dietary supplement that can cure diabetes and that it was made with Pfizer and approved by the FDA is Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Facebook post, April 23, 2024

Email exchange, Pfizer spokesperson, April 25, 2024

Emailed statement, U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokesperson, April 26, 2024

Wellnessela.mom, Learn to distinguish reality from fiction and use that to fight diabetes! Accessed April 25, 2024 

Barbara O’Neill, Get NATURAL with  Barbara O'Neill, accessed April 25, 2024 

Poynter, How to spot deepfake videos like a fact-checker, April 20, 2023

Tucker Carlson Uncensored, Trusted Analysis and Commentary, accessed April 25, 2024

IMDB, Tucker on X episode list, accessed April 25, 2024

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, What is Diabetes?, accessed April 25, 2024

American Diabetes Association, About diabetes, accessed April 25, 2024

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA 101: Dietary Supplements, June 2, 2022

Vox, How discredited health claims find a second life on TikTok, Feb. 15, 2024

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Deepfake video falsely pitches dietary supplement as diabetes remedy

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