TINA’s Take: FTC Lets ‘Detox Tea’ Influencers Off with a Warning
This week's Terms of Surrender: In the end, it's an advertisement, and the goal is to get into your wallet.
If the intent of a news article is to inform, is the intent of a fake news article to misinform?
Earlier this year, TINA.org received an email that linked to an apparent news article that touted the incredible fat-burning and muscle-building benefits of two dietary supplements, Xtreme Nitro and Maxx Test 300. Under the guise of an article, the webpage informed visitors of the “clinically proven” capabilities of the two supplements.
But scroll down a bit — well, to the bottom of the page a bit — and a reader would find that there’s nothing newsy about the article at all. In fact, it’s closer to something out of Hollywood. The terms and conditions in the fine print read:
THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT AN ACTUAL NEWS ARTICLE, BLOG, OR CONSUMER PROTECTION UPDATE. […] This website, and any page on the website, is based loosely off a true story, but has been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this page, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story. […]
Good thing no one takes health advice literally.
Admittedly, there were red flags that pointed to a lack of journalism excellence. Namely, a barrage of spelling and grammatical errors that started with the title on top, “Strenght Muscle,” and continued with this gem: “The two supplemental are clinically proven to flush out all the junks in your body and melt away body fat without harming your immune system.” Is “junks” a scientific term?
It’s not uncommon for advertisers to use fake news articles to lure you into buying something. But so long as you remember that most actual articles aren’t riddled with misspellings, grammatical errors, and phrases like “a deadly combo for getting insanely ripped,” you should be OK.
If you spot a sly terms and conditions policy during your travels online, tell us and we’ll consider featuring it next time in this continuing series, Terms of Surrender.
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