Facebook video selling protective masks used family photo to claim that all but one died of Covid-19

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“It was sickening and violent,” said Sara Ancich, 45, of Orange County, after seeing the ad for the first time on Sunday.

The video was removed on Monday, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.

Ancich, a sixth-grade English and history teacher, says she learned about the announcement on April 10 when her brother-in-law texted her.

The ad opens with the family photo, solemn music below, and text that reads: “The youngest son in a family of 5 is the only survivor of the deadly pandemic after wearing a CDC approved respirator. “

The image is a photo taken by a professional family member eight years ago that photographer Rich Lander posted on their website, Ancich told CNN. The image has since been deleted by the photographer.

The announcement went on to say that the family backed down from government warnings and attended an event of 176 people and that “Justin”, the youngest son, was the only family member to wear a mask. Behind this text, the announcement broadcast a video of the British royal family inside Westminster Abbey. The text on the unidentified and smiling boy says that he “narrowly escaped death.”

Ancich’s youngest son, now 16, is Ryan.

“The boy who would have represented our youngest son, we don’t know who this boy is,” said Ancich.

The Ancich family video is one of many versions that have been reviewed by other media with different images and video clips, but the same “single survivor” script and the FilterMax brand.

The announcement states that FilterMax “deploys dual filtration valve technology with a 5-layer protective filter, which effectively prevents 99.9% of bacteria, dust, smog and pollen from entering your lungs. The ad also claims they are FDA approved – an assertion that CNN has found no evidence on the list of approved respirators on the FDA website.

Many companies use the name “FilterMax”. CNN was not able to definitively determine which company is behind the video, but contacted several online stores that at one time sold the masks under that name.

Shopify, a platform that hosted at least two stores that sell the masks, told CNN through a spokesperson that their “teams continue to actively review products and businesses related to COVID-19” .

“In the past few weeks, we have closed more than 5,000 stores in our COVID-19 reviews,” said the release.

Facebook deleted the video and “took steps to prevent people from sharing it,” Facebook spokesman told CNN.

“We apologize to the family affected by the video,” added the spokesperson.

“We also continue to work to prevent people from exploiting this crisis for financial gain by banning the sale of masks and other predatory-behavior products. “

Facebook also said the FilterMax ad was not running as a paid distribution, which the platform is actively showing to users, but “appeared organically.”

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