Martin in particular gained notoriety for his Counter-Strike betting videos, in which he promoted sites - including CS:GO Lotto - by hedging his bets and winning big payouts.
They have settled charges that they deceptively endorsed the online gambling service CSGO Lotto, while failing to disclose they jointly owned the company.
Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have looked extensively at the situation and...
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In addition to the settlement - on which Martin and Cassell have not yet commented - the FTC is sending out warning letters to other social media users who have skirted the line of ethical brand promotion. Trevor "TmarTn" Martin and Thomas "Syndicate" Cassell are social media influencers who are popular in the online gaming community.
The Federal Trade Commission has sent out warnings to nearly two dozen social media influencers and streamers regarding deceptive practices, and updated their disclosure guidelines for streamers, influencers and content creators. However, it did said that the pair could face amends of more than $40,000 per violation if they fail to "clearly and conspicuously disclose" any future activity.
Instead, any connection between an influencer and the product being promoted must be disclosed in a "clear and conspicuous manner".
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Cassell posted videos with titles such as "INSANE KNIFE BETS!" It has also sent 21 warning letters to unname "influencers" who were contacted earlier this year about Instagram posts with undisclosed endorsements as well. CS:GO Lotto shut down shortly thereafter. Counter-Strike developer Valve has faced class-action lawsuits because of its previous lack of policing of these sites, with CSGO Lotto being one of the more prominent examples.
According to the FTC report, Martin and Cassell are believed to also have paid YouTube influencers between $2,500 to $55,000 to promote the site on YouTube, Twitch, Twitter and Facebook, under the instruction that they do not say anything negative about it (the site).
But amid growing concerns that these websites enabled minors to illegally gamble online, other YouTubers discovered that Martin and Cassell were president and vice president of CS:GO Lotto, respectively. The complaint charges that, in truth, Martin and Cassell are owners and officers of the company operating the CSGO Lotto website and the other influencers were paid to promote the website and were prohibited from impugning its reputation. The FTC has also laid out further guidelines for social media influencers wishing to promote products or services.
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