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"Consumers need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 8, 2017

1 Min Read

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled its first ever case against individual 'social media influencers' by ordering two controversial YouTubers to disclose all endorsements and partnerships in the future. 

The ruling is part of the settlement against Trevor "TmarTn" Martin and Thomas "Syndicate" Cassel, who became embroiled in a Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) betting scandal last summer.

Both YouTubers made headlines after being outed as the joint-owners of weapon skin gambling site CSGO Lotto, a fact they neglected to mention when making videos promoting and showcasing the site. 

They also allegedly paid other well-known social media stars to promote the site on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook, without ever requiring them to disclose the payments. 

The FTC's order settling the charges against the pair requires them to "clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connections with an endorser or between an endorser and any promoted product or service."

Given it's the FTC's first settlement involving individual influencers, the organization hopes it will set a precedent going forward and outline the important of disclosure. 

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

"This action, the FTC's first against individual influencers, should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions."

A full breakdown of the case and investigation is available over on the FTC website, where the group has also posted a handy chart highlighting some disclosure do's and don'ts. 

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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