The US Federal Trade Commission is charging Youtube Content group Machinima with “deceptive advertising” after a secret advertising deal between them and Microsoft’s ad agency, Starcom, came to light. This deal involved Youtube Personalities being paid to talk positively about the Xbox One’s launch without revealing they were getting paid to do so. The videos were then released and presented as the opinions of these personalities instead of a paid advertising gig. Needless to say, these actions were highly unethical.
The FTC announced a settlement with Machinima that prohibits the Youtube network from doing this all over again and to reveal advertising sources in future videos. While it would be nice to know if they actually had to pay any fines, it’s good to know that this situation isn’t just being quickly glossed over. Microsoft itself isn’t being held liable, with this situation being seen as an anomaly that they tried to stop after learning what Machinima was doing.
The lesson here is to be careful about what opinions you trust, because sometimes they’re more than just opinions.