Many online health influencers have been publishing videos about sugar and aspartame but not disclosing that they are getting paid to do so. The American Beverage Association and The Canadian Sugar Institute were paying those influencers to promote sugar and aspartame in their content. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent warning letters to those online health influencers for the same.
One of the most important rules for posting sponsored content is that the content creator needs to tell its viewers that they have received payment for doing so. According to FTC, each content creator might have to pay fines over $50K if they continue posting sponsored content without disclosing.
The head of FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Samuel Levine, said that it is “irresponsible for any trade group to hire influencers to tout its members’ product” without ensuring that the content creators are clear about the sponsor. The FTC also alleged those content creators in its letters use
“inconspicuous placement, ambiguous language, or the failure to clearly identify the sponsor of the posts.”
It might be doubtful whether aspartame actually poses any cancer risks or not. However, it does not mean that two companies with vested interests should pay extremely popular creators on social media to “debunk” online claims.
The FTC also quoted one video from influencer Adam Pecoraro in its warning letter. In the video, the influencer told followers to disregard the claims of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). He also claimed that the IARC leaked to Reuters about its decision to identify Aspartame as a class 2B carcinogen.
The FTC also added that it is not enough for Pecoraro to use the tag “Paid Promotion” in TikTok. The FTC warned that he needed to disclose audibly as well since the endorsements were made through audio.
A passionate writer and an avid reader, Soumava is academically inclined and loves writing on topics requiring deep research. Having 3+ years of experience, Soumava also loves writing blogs in other domains, including digital marketing, business, technology, travel, and sports.