The Federal Trade Commission settled their very first complaint and subsequent enforcement action against two individual influencers – and their alleged failures to disclose material relationship between themselves and the brands endorsed in their social media posts.
FTC announced today that Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell, two widely-followed social media influencers in the online gaming community, settled with the Commission charges that they deceptively endorsed the online gambling service CSGO Lotto while failing to disclose they jointly owned the company. The FTC also alleged that the two paid other well-known influencers to promote CSGO Lotto on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook without requiring the influencers to disclose such payments in their posts.
Going forward, per the terms of the settlement, Martin and Cassell must clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connections with an endorser or between an endorser and any promoted product or service.
(Yeah. It’s sounds like pump-and-pump stock newsletters schemeing to me, too.)
The Commission also announced that its staff has sent 21 warning letters to other social media influencers regarding their Instagram posts. The letters are a continuation of the FTC’s April 2017 action: sending educational letters to more than 90 celebrities, athletes, other influencers, and marketers regarding clear and conspicuous disclosure of influencer relationships with brands. The 21 letters are to individuals within the initial 90.
To guide both influencers and their hiring (earned) brands, the FTC has written a very comprehensive information page.
Table of contents:
- About the Endorsement Guides
- When Does the FTC Act Apply to Endorsements?
- Product Placements
- Endorsements by Individuals on Social Networking Sites
- How Should I Disclose That I Was Given Something for My Endorsement?
- Other Things for Endorsers to Know
- Social Media Contests
- Online Review Programs
- Soliciting Endorsements
- What Are an Advertiser's Responsibilities for What Others Say in Social Media?
- What About Intermediaries?
- What About Affiliate or Network Marketing?
- Expert Endorsers Making Claims Outside of Traditional Advertisements
- Employee Endorsements
- Using Testimonials That Don’t Reflect the Typical Consumer Experience
"Bradley’s international expertise was vital to the success of our European expansion.
A seasoned international marketer, he executed quickly and skillfully to position the company as a global brand and he understood and adapted when localized communications and product attributes were required. With Bradley coordinating our international marketing, we never worried. He’s cool under pressure and time zones don’t seem to affect him. Bradley’s enthusiasm is always tuned-up and switched on. Clients just loved meeting with him.
Bradley will be a successful and smart international marketer and ambassador for any organization fortunate to work with him."
Vice Consul ~ Department for International Trade at British Consulate General
PROFESSIONAL HISTORY: Senior Managing Director ~ Shareholder.com and Nasdaq, Inc.