IT&Software

FTC Enforcement Action Against Social Media Influencers

FTC Enforcement Action Against Social Media Influencers

Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered TmarTn and Syndicate - and all influencers - to disclose if they have any connection to the stuff they promote in their videos.

The verdict is out for Trevor "TmarTn" Martin and Thomas "Syndicate" Cassell after they made the news when the CS:GO gambling site they'd been promoting was discovered to be owned by the two.

The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through October 10, 2017, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final.

If they violate the FTC's order, they'll face penalties up to $40,654.

"Consumers need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts", Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen said in a statement.

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Despite being one of the few online multiplayer games with millions in tournament prize pools, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has slowly become known for its many scandals instead. Along with that settlement, the FTC revealed Thursday that it has sent these warning letters to 21 unnamed Instagram influencers stating that connections between themselves and the products they are endorsing "should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed" per the FTC's Endorsement Guides.

Martin and Cassell started CSGOLotto, Inc and its website in late 2015, according to the FTC. Such skins can essentially be used as gambling chips, since they can exchanged at Valve's Steam Marketplace for real cash, with Valve taking a 15 percent cut. Following the complaint and exposure of the two as owners, many YouTube videos came under scrutiny from the pair promoting and encouraging the use of the service. The videos they created were viewed almost 6 million times, according to the FTC, but they never adequately disclosed their connection to CSGOLotto. The FTC has followed up on only a few cases.

"The goal of the FTC isn't to be a punitive or draconian agency". "We are here to educate consumers about new markets". In addition, the FTC announced that it had updated previous guidance on influencer campaigns.

To coincide with this, the FTC has also sent warning letters to 21 social media influencers, following a mass mailout of 90 "educational letters" earlier this year.

The FTC also released an updated document with answers to frequently asked questions.


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