If influencers are paid, they must disclose it

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My son loves to watch expert gamers playing video games on YouTube. Some of these online gamers have millions of followers who, like my son, watch them for hours, know all about them, and want to be just like them. They’re true online celebrities, influencers. I will never understand the fascination with watching others play a video game for hours, but I do understand that if online gamers are being paid to endorse a product in their videos or social media posts, they have to disclose that to their followers. It’s fair and it’s the law.

Today the FTC announced that it settled a case against two famous YouTubers, Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell, and their company CSGO Lotto, Inc., for failing to tell people that they were owners and officers of CSGO Lotto, Inc. when they promoted its online gambling service, csgolotto.com. Under the laws about truth in advertising, they should have told their followers. And they should have told their followers clearly – just like they do when they explain the video games they play. Their followers may have felt differently about their recommendations to use csgolotto.com if they had known Martin and Cassell were behind the website.

Sometimes it’s really hard to know if influencers are simply giving their honest opinion or if they were paid to talk positively about a product. How are you supposed to know if they don’t say it? So I tell my son to ask himself this: Do I think this person is being paid to give a positive review? If so, does that change my opinion of the review? Then I show him this YouTube video to help him think about online reviews and how much weight to put on them.

Tagged with: advertising, online, review

Comments

Your video is too fast. Slow down the speed so people can read the information.

I'm writing this blog to figure out if the articles I'm reading on this FTC government site are put their by the FTC employees or by random bloggers. If you're reading this message then you know this story is by a random blogger, not the FTC employee providing information

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