Warner Bros. Settles Charges of Failing to Disclose Payments to Online Influencers
The company allegedly paid online influencers to post positive gameplay videos on YouTube
After a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has now given its approval to a final consent order to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment that settles charges alleging that the company paid online influencers to post gameplay videos.
The FTC's complaint claimed that Warner Bros. failed to disclose adequately that it paid online influencers thousands of dollars to upload positive gameplay videos to YouTube and social media networks during a marketing campaign for the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, thereby deceiving consumers. The sponsored videos garnered more than 5.5 million views over the course of the campaign.
The agency also claimed that the company provided the influencers with a free advance-release version of the game as well as instructions for promoting it. In addition, claims that FTC, Warner Bros. also required the influencers to promote it positively and not disclose any bugs or glitches they discovered while playing.
Under the terms of the order, the company cannot fail to disclose such facts in the future. It is also not allowed to misrepresent that sponsored content, including gameplay videos, are video game enthusiasts' or influencers' objective and independent opinions.