The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Monday (Nov. 21) that it has approved a final order that requires Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to disclose payments made to online influencers to post gameplay videos.
The Commission said the rule comes after a public comment period was concluded.
Under the terms of the original complaint that was filed in July 2016 and according to a Monday statement, Warner “deceived consumers during a marketing campaign for Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor,” which is a video game. The firm had not disclosed that it had paid online “influencers” several thousand dollars to put “positive gameplay videos on YouTube” and other social media channels. Those channels helped the game and the videos tied to it be sponsored more than 5.5 million times. The FTC also said Warner gave those influencers free advance release versions of the game, with instructions on how to promote that game, with an eye on positive reviews and with a with the caveat that they would not disclose bugs or glitches.
Under the terms of the order, the entertainment company cannot fail to make such disclosures in the future, and it can’t misrepresent sponsored content as independent opinion.