WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Nov. 21 that, following a public comment period, it has approved a final consent order with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. that settles charges the company failed to adequately disclose that it paid online influencers to post gameplay videos.
The FTC first announced a complaint against Warner Bros. in July. The commission said Warner Bros. deceived consumers during a marketing campaign for the video game "Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor" by failing to disclose that it was paying social media influencers thousands of dollars to post positive gameplay videos. The influencers created posts that delivered 5.5 million views.
Additional charges against Warner Bros include allegations the company gave influencers free advance copies of the game and told them how to promote it, as well as allegations the company told influencers they could only post positive reviews and could not publicly report any glitches or bugs in the game.
Warner Bros, under the final order, is barred from misrepresenting sponsored content in the future as independent opinions of video game enthusiasts or influencers.
The FTC voted 3-0 to approve the final order and responses to public comments.