In the age of information and social media, misinformation can spread like wildfire, often causing confusion and harm to the public. Recently, a Facebook account named “Cerita Bintang” shared a post claiming that renowned nutrition expert Dr. Ir. Hardinsyah had endorsed a weight loss product. However, upon closer investigation, it became evident that this claim was a hoax, causing a ripple of concern and prompting us to explore the true facts behind the situation.
On Friday, July 28th, 2023, the Facebook account “Cerita Bintang” uploaded a post showcasing a video and audio recording, seemingly originating from Dr. Ir. Hardinsyah himself. The video claimed that a revolutionary weight loss method, endorsed by Dr. Hardinsyah, could aid anyone in shedding excess pounds, regardless of their age, gender, or the underlying causes of their weight issues. Notably, the narrative even associated this method with notable Indonesian figures, including presenter Okky Lukman. By August 11th, the post had garnered a staggering 3.5 million views, along with 10,000 likes and 298 comments.
The use of public figures in product endorsements raises eyebrows, given the prevalence of the unauthorized and illegal use of celebrity names for marketing purposes. In the past, similar claims regarding diet products linked to singer Melly Goeslaw were debunked by reputable sources. With this in mind, it’s important to scrutinize any endorsements involving public figures.
To get to the bottom of the matter, Tirto’s Research Team engaged in thorough fact-checking. They watched the 43-second video carefully and used Google to search for claims related to the weight loss product associated with Dr. Ir. Hardinsyah. This investigation led them to a statement by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) denouncing the claims as misinformation.
Dr. Ir. Hardinsyah, a prominent figure in the realm of nutrition, holds the position of Chairman of the Indonesian Society of Nutrition and Food Experts (Pergizi Pangan) and is also a lecturer at the Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB). As reported by detikcom, Dr. Hardinsyah refuted the endorsement claims, stating that he had never promoted or recommended the weight loss product in question. He emphasized that he had neither been interviewed nor collaborated on any such campaign.
In fact, Dr. Hardinsyah and his close associates made efforts to clarify their stance on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram Beauty Blog, which had been promoting the product. Regrettably, their comments were removed by the account’s administrators. Dr. Hardinsyah revealed that he and his associates had indeed commented, asserting the falsehood of the claims. Despite their efforts, these comments were deleted.
The authenticity of the weight loss product’s endorsement by Dr. Hardinsyah was definitively debunked. Furthermore, upon investigating the video on Facebook, it was discovered that the logo “Green TV” was present in the top-right corner of the video, indicating its origin. By searching “Green TV,” Tirto’s team traced it back to the official page of IPB (Bogor Agricultural Institute). This led them to the IPB TV YouTube channel, where a similar video from August 22nd, 2017, featuring Dr. Hardinsyah discussing national food security, was found. The original video was unrelated to any weight-loss product endorsement.
In conclusion, the claims surrounding the endorsement of a weight loss product by Dr. Ir. Hardinsyah were definitively exposed as false and misleading. This hoax was also confirmed by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo). The diligent fact-checking efforts of Tirto’s Research Team have provided clarity in a sea of misinformation, underscoring the importance of verifying claims before accepting them as truths. In the age of viral information, critical thinking and fact-checking remain our most powerful tools against the spread of misinformation.