Fact Check: FAKED Video Shows Barbara O'Neill Advertising Diabetes Remedy

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: FAKED Video Shows Barbara O'Neill Advertising Diabetes Remedy AI Audio

Was the controversial wellness coach Barbara O'Neill filmed touting a supposed natural cure for diabetes? No, that's not true: A video promoting an unspecified natural cure is not authentic. The voice resembling O'Neill's was determined to be AI generated, and the whiteboard from a pre-existing footage of O'Neill giving a lecture was edited to feature a different message.

The promotion appeared in a post by the Facebook page "Medicine is great" on April 29, 2024. The post was not captioned. The words on the whiteboard read:

Taking metformin causes cancer!
100% new natural product

The AI-generated voice of the soundtrack says:

You've been fooled. Revealed studies show that regular metformin intake doubles your cancer risk at any age. While you think you're managing your blood sugar levels you're actually poisoning your body. Fortunately there's still a chance to break free from diabetes once and for all. Imagine lowering your blood sugar with just one natural capsule a day. This isn't just any remedy, it's passed rigorous tests and has been verified by the FDA and the NIH.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed May 1 15:56:58 2024 UTC)

Continuing the audio message, the voice says:

Unlike 95 percent of pharmaceutical drugs that need to be taken forever, this remedy offers lasting results even after you stop taking it. Simply put, a ten day course of this cure is enough to maintain your blood sugar at the perfect level of ninety. So if you're fed up with every hour blood sugar checks, insulin injections and constant bathroom visits, it's time to act now. Don't turn a blind eye to your health anymore. Thousands of Americans who ignored their diabetes care are now bedridden with kidney failure and vision loss. Don't miss your chance to save your life. Fill out the 15 second form today and start your path to diabetes free life tomorrow.

The scope of this fact check is the inauthenticity of the video and audio, and will not extend to this unnamed diabetes remedy or the claims about metformin. Lead Stories published a fact check on April 22, 2024, on a different claim associated with O'Neill regarding a diabetes cure of diet and exercise. That fact check offers unified statements from several medical sources saying there currently is no treatment to cure diabetes. Beyond using O'Neill's likeness and synthesizing her voice, Lead Stories did not find any evidence that the altered video (pictured above) or the associated remedy was connected to O'Neill.

The post on Facebook includes a link to torpidlyslayable.com (archived here). This opens as an article with the headline "10 Lifehacks for Diabetics," but does not list 10 "life hacks," offer anything for sale or offer the "15 second form" mentioned in the video. The page contains a few paragraphs of general information such as carb counting for Type 1 diabetes and the importance of losing weight for overweight Type 2 diabetics. A whois.com search for the domain shows that it was recently registered on April 22, 2024.

Lead Stories used the Hive Moderation AI Generated Content Detection Tool to analyze a 30-second clip of the purported O'Neill video. The result (pictured below) said the input was 100 percent likely to be AI-generated.


(Source: Hivemoderation.com screenshot taken on Wed May 01 17:38:02 2024 UTC)

A reverse image search with Google Lens returned several results showing O'Neill wearing this outfit while speaking at a whiteboard next to a potted tree. It appears that this lecture covered many topics and may have been cut into many shorter clips. Lead Stories did not find the original full-length video of this lecture. One detail of O'Neill's outfit is different from this video and the others, it seems that at some point in the lecture she either put on or took off a black jacket with a white corsage. The folds of her scarf are consistent throughout, indicating that the clips were filmed on the same day. A clip on TikTok shows the writing on the whiteboard (below right) looks nothing like the computer graphics text that was edited into the fabricated promotion (below left).

Source: Lead Stories composite image with Facebook and TikTok screenshots taken on Wed May 1 18:11:38 2024 UTC)

Additional Lead Stories fact checks on claims by or about Barbara O'Neill can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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