Of the 100 videos, the researchers found that nearly a third were promoting diet pills.Under the word "diet pills," organic posts mentioned prescription drugs for epilepsy, migraines, and addiction.The Guardian noted that some posts that the magazine flagged to TikTok were eventually removed.
In 2020, the company updated its policies to ban the advertisement of fasting apps and weight loss supplements and limit the advertisement of "weight management products" to those over 18User.However, The Pharmaceutical Journal's test account was able to find posts selling diet pills.Some users also made daily video diaries or shared before-and-after photos while taking the medication to show noticeable weight loss.
Health care experts tell The Pharmaceutical Journal that unsubstantiated weight loss claims are dangerous for adults and teens.
TikTok did not immediately respond to The Verge's request for comment, but it told The Guardian that the promotion or trade of controlled substances -- including prescription diet pills -- is not allowed on the platform, which violates theThe content of this policy will be removed.
There has been an issue with the marketing of medical treatments as a way to lose weight on TikTok.In January, the platform -- along with Instagram -- pulled an ad linking obesity to ADHD from healthcare startup Cerebral, which it said patients might seek treatment for ADHD to stop overeating.
TikTok has been forced to respond to harmful dieting content on its platform in the past.A detailed 2021 report from The Wall Street Journal shows how TikTok's algorithm pushes young girls toward diet and weight loss videos and sends them down a potentially dangerous rabbit hole.The report came a day after TikTok announced that it was working to diversify recommendations so that users wouldn't be overwhelmed by a stream of similar content.