TikTokers are being paid to promote this controversial ingredient in diet soda

TikTok logo on a dark backgroundUnsplash: Eyestetix Studio

Registered dietitians on TikTok were paid by American Beverage earlier in 2023 to promote aspartame, a common artificial sweetener used in diet soda, after the World Health Organization labeled it a carcinogen.

Throughout the years, there’s been an increase in companies that use influencers to help promote their products or services.

You’ll commonly see it across social media, with the posts properly marked as an advertisement or sponsorship in accordance with FTC laws.

A report from The Washington Post on September 13, 2023, revealed that the American Beverage Association, the company that represents the biggest drinks in the country, paid influencers to promote Aspartame.

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This happened just after the World Health Organization labeled the controversial ingredient a carcinogen, although the study was based on limited evidence.

World Health Organization

TikTok dietitians paid by AmeriBev to promote aspartame

In the report, The Washington Post says that at least 35 videos were part of a coordinated campaign by AmeriBev. Although they didn’t know the exact amount, WaPo says that the trade group paid 10 registered dietitians, as well as a physician and a fitness influencer.

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Three of the dietitians were featured by the report, and WaPo found that all three of them called out “fear mongering headlines,” “click bait,” and called the WHO’s decision “low-quality science.”

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The American Beverage Association told WaPo that the influencers who participated in the campaign made it perfectly clear that they were connected to the group — but the publications analysis found that many of the videos weren’t properly labeled, at all.

The Federal Trade Commission has set rules laid out for influencers on how they should disclose their partnerships with a company, assuming that there is any money paid or product provided for the ad.

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With the continued growth of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, it’s unlikely that the FTC has the resources to actively enforce their disclosure rules, however.

In similar news, food TikToker Flavcity has been accused of deceiving viewers with products that give him a financial gain.

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