Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order settling its first-ever case against individual social media influencers, the owners of the CSGO Lotto website.
The Commission’s September 7, 2017 complaint charged Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell, two online influencers who are widely followed in the gaming community, with deceptively endorsing the online gambling service CSGO Lotto, while failing to disclose they jointly owned the company. According to the FTC, the defendants also paid other well-known influencers thousands of dollars to promote the site on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook, without requiring them to disclose the payments in their social media posts.
The Commission order settling the charges prohibits Martin, Cassell, and CSGOLotto, Inc. from misrepresenting that any endorser is an independent user or ordinary consumer of a product or service. The order also requires clear and conspicuous disclosures of any unexpected material connections with endorsers.
The Commission vote approving the final consent order and letters to public commenters was 2-0. (The staff contact is Michael Ostheimer, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2699)
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Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs