You know those Flat Tummy Tea ads that flood your Instagram feed? Well, the Federal Trade Commission has issues with them.
This week the agency announced that it could soon be launching an investigation into popular detox teas advertised on social media. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote a letter, expressing concerns of detox tea companies’ marketing practices.
Brands like Flat Tummy Tea and Boom Bod gained traction after grabbing celebrity influencers to post their products on their Instagram and Twitter pages. The Kardashian and Jenner clan along with a list of other celebrities have been paid to endorse Flat Tummy Tea products, urging fans to buy the weight-loss supplements.
“The dangers of these products, their widespread use, and deceptive marketing demand federal action,” Blumenthal said in a statement to The Verge.
Blumenthal is calling on the FTC to “to investigate the false and misleading marketing practices presented by the manufacturers of these teas and take appropriate enforcement action to protect unwitting consumers from harm.”
Detox teas have previously been criticized and put under investigation for their ingredients. The brands, which often have products that include appetite suppressing candies and shakes, use laxatives and caffeine that dehydrate people’s bodies. Long-term use can also cause potassium deficiencies, according to Consumer Reports.
Influencer culture has blurred the line on social media between real and fake, making it hard at times to determine if content is paid for by third-parties. In 2017, the FTC began requiring brands and influencers to explicitly say when a post or other content was an ad, hoping to provide more transparency and protections to consumers.
Although an FTC investigation into the detox tea brands is not definite, it is likely. The agency has previously launched investigations following suggestions from Senators, and social media practices have increasingly come under its purview.