Instead, any connection between an influencer and the product being promoted must be disclosed in a "clear and conspicuous manner". Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $40,654.
Trevor "TmarTn" Martin and Thomas "ProSyndicate" Cassel had gained a significant following on YouTube from where the duo promoted the CSGOLotto.com website around the clock as a premium destination for players to place bets and rake in valuable in-game items.
"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 prepared statement.
"The proposed order settling the FTC's charges prohibits Martin, Cassell, and CSGOLotto, Inc. from misrepresenting that any endorser is an independent user or ordinary consumer of a product or service".
It's the equivilent of a slap on the wrist for the pair, who faced backlash from the community for advertising their CS:GO gambling site CSGOLotto in their videos without admitting they they not only had a financial stake in the company, but that they were the co-owners of the site itself. The videos they created were viewed almost 6 million times, according to the FTC, but they never adequately disclosed their connection to CSGOLotto.
The settlement brings with it potential fines for breaking the FTC guidelines and detailed rules on record-keeping and compliance the company must follow.
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.
This latest enforcement ties in neatly with that goal as the latest step in a series of warnings and enforcements around the topic of influencers and marketing dating back to 2009. In 2015, Cassell came under fire again, after a report from Gamasutra, for a potential violation for promoting the game Dead Realm.
Martin and Cassell are also social media influencers who have gaming channels on YouTube with millions of followers. Letters sent today cite specific posts by Instagram influencers the FTC believes may violate its Endorsement Guides.
At no point does the FTC touch the issue that significant numbers of Martin and Cassell's audience are underage when it comes to gambling law. The FTC has not disclosed the names of those 21 people.