Summary of Action

In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission brought an action against Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. for its use of online “influencers” to promote the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor without adequately disclosing that Warner Bros. paid the influencers.  The action resulted in an FTC Order that bars Warner Bros. from misrepresenting that sponsored content, including gameplay videos, are the objective, independent opinions of video game enthusiasts or influencers. The Order also requires Warner Bros. to clearly and conspicuously disclose the material connection between the company and the influencers, and to ensure that its influencers do the same.

In October 2017, almost a year later, TINA.org found evidence that Warner Bros. is violating this Order. Specifically, one of the examples included in the FTC’s complaint, a YouTube video promoting the Shadow of Mordor game created and posted by YouTube’s top influencer “PewDiePie,” continues to lack a clear and conspicuous disclosure.  And despite having been originally published in 2014, the video has received more than 170,000 additional views since the FTC’s 2016 action against Warner Bros.

As a result, TINA.org sent a letter on October 30, 2017 to the FTC urging it to reopen its investigation into Warner Bros.’s use of influencer marketing and take appropriate enforcement action.

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