YouTubers Trevor "TmarTn" Martin and Thomas "Syndicate" Cassell have reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission regarding FTC charges that the two endorsed CS:GO skin-gambling website CSGO Lotto in their videos without disclosing that they owned the company.
According to an FTC press release, the pair are now required to "clearly and conspicuously" disclose their relationships with anyone who endorses their videos, or otherwise asks them to promote a product or service. This is the first time the FTC has taken action against social media influencers.
“Consumers need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts,” FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen said in a press release. “This action, the FTC’s first against individual influencers, should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions.”
The FTC has also sent warning letters to 21 other influencers regarding Instagram posts with the FTC's updated guidelines on social media influencers.
TmarTn and Cassell owned and operated CSGO Lotto, and advertised it in their popular YouTube videos without disclosing their relationship to the site. The site allowed users to gamble on CS:GO matches using in-game skins as virtual currency. The FTC's complaint also alleges that the pair paid other influencers anywhere from $2,500 to $55,000 to endorse CSGO Lotto without disclosing that they had been paid to do so.
In July 2016, following several videos that accused the pair of owning CSGO Lotto and not disclosing that relationship, Team EnVyUs released a statement in which they distanced themselves from TmarTn. EnVyUs stated that he had been given a small amount of equity in the organization in exchange for supporting the organization's YouTube channel, but that he was never involved in team operation, and does not sit on the organization's board.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.