PewDiePie is once again filled with a righteous fury, and this time it’s not just fun and games — it’s about unethical journalists.
A whole lot of noise was made on the internet this past week over a settlement Warner Bros. made with the FTC. The settlement dealt with the combined failure of WB and various YouTube influencers to fully disclose in 2014 that WB had paid to sponsor videos about their then-upcoming game, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The official FTC press release about the settlement can be found here.
Many publications saw PewDiePie’s name in the press release, stopped reading, and rushed to publish stories that outright accused or implicated PewDiePie of malfeasance. Headlines screamed, “PewDiePie and other YouTubers took money from Warner Bros. for positive game reviews”, “Warner Bros. busted for paying YouTubers — including Pew DIe Pie — for positive game reviews”, and more.
The only problem? As PewDiePie explains in the video above, it’s not true.
Here are the facts: Yes, Warner Bros. paid YouTubers, including PewDiePie, to cover Shadow of Mordor. Yes, some YouTubers failed to disclose that they were being paid. But PewDiePie himself clearly marked the video as sponsored — even though the FTC regulation of sponsored YouTube videos wasn’t in place until the next year.
Naturally, Pewds is pretty upset. Publications all across the gaming and internet culture spectra used his name to get people to click on stories that left out the critical detail: that the person they accused of failing to disclose sponsorship disclosed sponsorship.
What do you think? Has your trust in the media eroded because of this story? (Except this media. We’re good and you can trust us forever.) Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!