‘Detox tea’ company will pay $1 million over Instagram influencer ads

The Federal Trade Commission alleges that “detox tea” company Teami misled consumers with outrageous health claims and advertisements from influencers who failed to clearly disclose they were being paid.

Teami earned more than $15 million in sales for its products, which it claimed would cause weight loss or treat diseases “without reliable scientific evidence,” according to the FTC complaint. The FTC ordered Teami to stop these practices and return $1,000,000 to “consumers who were harmed.”

Additionally, Teami used paid social media influencers to promote these products, and those influencers repeatedly failed to clearly disclose the sponsorship to their fans, according to the complaint. The FTC issued warning letters to numerous Instagram influencers tied to Teami, including rapper Cardi B, over certain posts they created in violation of the agency’s Endorsement Guides and restating that those who fail to comply are subjected to legal action.

Social media marketing for weight loss products has been a subject of controversy due to concerns around their health effects. These companies pay influencers to post about their product on social media, namely Instagram. Within the last several years, the Federal Trade Commission began cracking down on influencer marketing. In 2017, the FTC said that influencers to disclose ad posts using hashtags in their post descriptions such as “ad” or “partner.”

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