A popular beauty influencer with over 12 million followers on TikTok defended “false advertising” in a now-deleted video.
“Even if she did put false eyelashes on, why does it matter?” Mads Lewis said in her now-deleted video. “I know it’s false advertising, but isn’t everything false advertising? Isn’t everything technically kind of lying just a little bit?”
The debate over truth in advertising on TikTok started after beauty influencer Mikayla Nogueira was accused of wearing fake eyelashes while promoting the L’Oreal Telescopic Lift mascara. Nogueira had described her lashes after using the product as “THE LASHES OF MY DREAMS!!”
When users said they could see additional lashes, Nogueira denied that she had used extensions in now-deleted comments, according to Rolling Stone.
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Lewis, another influencer, argued that Nogueira’s possible use of fake lashes wasn’t a big deal because of the prominence of false advertising across the industry. The videos resurfaced on another TikTok account that stitched the videos to make sure the platform retained Lewis’s view for posterity.
“Don’t get me wrong, lying sucks,” she continued, comparing what Nogueira did to food companies that modify their products in commercials. “But everyone does it – especially when it comes to social media, and especially when it comes to making money.”
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“Sorry, if somebody put $200,000 in your face and said, ‘Hey, promote my sh— mascara, ‘I don’t think you’d think twice about it.”
Users condemned the take and argued that the problem wasn’t that Nogueira lied, but that she built her platform on allegedly “honest reviews” of products and then was caught “several times lying.”
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Other TikTok beauty influencers have been quick to criticize Nogueira, calling her “weird” behavior and accusing her of posting “misleading reviews” that could harm other influencers.
“People are putting their trust in us and this isn’t cool,” Alissa Ashley, a beauty product reviewer with over 435,000 followers, said in response to the controversy.
In a tongue-in-cheek write-up of the controversy, BuzzFeed noted that “investigating a beauty influencer’s apparent mistake” is a step-down from some of the controversies that plagued such accounts in the past few years.
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Recent controversies included James Charles sending inappropriate texts to minors and accusations of racism and bullying from influencers including Laura Lee and Jefree Star. Buzzfeed noted these users still have over one million followers each.