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FTC halts Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor deceptive video game reviews

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Not long ago, we told you about a company that settled charges that it deceived gamers by failing to disclose that YouTube “influencers” were paid for their favorable reviews about the new Xbox One console. Now the publisher of a popular video game has agreed to settle charges that it engaged in similar deceptive behavior.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment paid influential YouTubers to create, publish, and promote favorable video reviews about a new video game, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and didn’t require them to clearly disclose that they were paid to tout the game. That makes the reviews misleading, says the FTC complaint. Why? Because the law says that if someone is paid to publish a product review, they must disclose that connection since it could affect your opinion about the product.

The disclosure should be hard to miss. If it’s a video review, the disclosure must be in the video —putting it only in the description field below the video won’t cut it. And it has to stay on screen long enough for you, the viewer, to be able to read it. The reviewer also should verbally tell you about the connection. That’s because you are more likely to notice the disclosure if it’s both spoken and visible on screen.

If you’re considering an online game, weigh reviews from several trusted and reputable sources. Figure out who each source is. Is it an individual user or an impartial, expert organization?

Watch this video for more tips on how to evaluate online reviews.

online video reviews


Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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