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Meta and TikTok remove ads linking ADHD to obesity

Meta and TikTok removed ads that appeared to link ADHD to obesity following requests from NBC News and Forbes, NBC reported.

Ads for mental health care startup Cerebral ran on Instagram, which is owned by Meta, and TikTok, according to NBC News.

One said, “Those who live on impulse, eat on impulse” next to a picture of a woman close to different types of unhealthy food. The ad said obesity was “five times more prevalent” among adults with ADHD, the network reported.

“Advertisers and ad content must follow our Community Guidelines, Advertising Guidelines, and Terms of Service, and content that violates these guidelines will be removed,” a TikTok spokesperson told The Hill in a statement when he was asked about the NBC News report.

Separately, Meta spokeswoman Stephanie Chan confirmed to NBC News that a different ad from Cerebral, which allegedly called GLP-1 agonists – used to treat type 2 diabetes – a “wonder drug.” for weight loss, had also been removed from Facebook.

“We don’t allow content that promotes misleading health claims or attempts to generate negative self-perception in order to promote health-related products. We remove ads that violate these rules,” a spokesperson for Meta said in a statement to The Hill.

NBC News also reported that another company, Done, which specializes in ADHD care, also ran social media ads that experts objected to.

An advertisement the network saw implied that ADHD-related symptoms included a “feeling of lack of motivation” or a “feeling of emptiness.” Requests for comment were not returned by Done to NBC News.

Cerebral’s chief medical officer, David Mou, told NBC News that an outside firm is designing the company’s ads and that Cerebral did not approve ads that linked ADHD and obesity.

“We took it down immediately and have already worked out a process where my clinical team and I will review everything that happens, so that nothing like this happens again,” Mou told NBC.

The Hill has contacted Cerebral and Done for comment.

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