Warner Bros. Warned by the FTC over paid promotion of Shadow of Mordor

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Published by Serio 2 years ago , last updated 8 months ago

Yes, that's quite a long headline, but stay with us here.

Some time ago, the Federal Trade Commission(a government organisation aimed at protecting the consumer from fraud and deception) launched an investigation into Warner Bros. Home Entertainment over allegations that it failed to disclose its enlistment of online "influencers". 

These influencers, of which Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg is named one of, were allegedly paid by Warner Bros. to promote their 2014 game, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor in videos set up to look like reviews. 

An excerpt of the legal press release reads;

Warner Bros. paid each influencer from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars, gave them a free advance-release version of the game, and told them how to promote it, according to the complaint. The FTC contends that Warner Bros. required the influencers to promote the game in a positive way and not to disclose any bugs or glitches they found.

According to release, Warner Bros. did instruct its influencers to place disclosures in the video description, but they were buried beneath a lot of other information, pushing it past the "fold" and thus not being visible unless the user went to read the entire description. The document goes deeper;

The FTC also alleges that the Warner Bros.’ contracts with influencers subjected their videos to pre-approval, and that on at least one occasion Warner Bros. reviewed and approved an influencer video that lacked adequate sponsorship disclosure.

As a result, the FTC are proposing an order that prohibits Warner Bros. from misrepresenting gameplay videos in the future, and also requires the company to disclose any material connection between them and their influencers.

You and read the whole press release here: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/07/warner-bros-settles-ftc-charges-it-failed-adequately-disclose-it?utm_source=govdelivery

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