Starting Tuesday, a number of YouTubers began issuing apologies admitting that they deliberately or "accidentally" failed to notify viewers about paid advertisements in their videos.
YouTuber "Eat with Boki", better known by her real name, Moon Bo-ki, uploaded an apology to her YouTube community, Tuesday. "I admit and apologize for not mentioning paid promotions in some of my videos." Moon has more than 4.6 million subscribers and hundreds of mukbang videos on her channel.
Tzuyang, another YouTuber with 2.67 million subscribers, uploaded a video Wednesday saying, "I am sorry that I did not fully inform viewers about commercial sponsorship, and promise to notify viewers of all advertisements from now on."
However, as internet users speculated that she could have been involved in tax evasion and fraud, Tzuyang announced plans to quit YouTube the next day.
This was followed by a statement from Yang Pang, an online content creator, who has more than 2.48 million subscribers. With an apology, she immediately added an "includes paid promotion" banner to 20 videos and deleted two from her channel.
Other popular mukbang YouTubers with more than a million subscribers such as Mbro, Fran and Hamzy have also admitted such promotional activities and apologized to subscribers.
But it seems that apologies are not enough for the disappointed subscribers who are expressing their anger through comments. Many have already unsubscribed.
One comment under Yang Pang's apology read, "I feel deceived that you have been lying to your fans. I will never watch your videos again."
The sudden confessions and apologies of YouTubers seem quite timely as the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has recently announced revised advertising rules for social media, effective Sept. 1.
Under the new guidelines, YouTubers and social media influencers must disclose paid advertisements in an easily visible manner. Ambiguous phrases such as "Thanks to," and "In collaboration with" will be banned.
Lee Eun-hee, a professor of consumer science at Inha University told The Korea Times, "Hiding paid advertisements is obviously a violation of consumer rights. It is important to let the viewers know when they are watching a video based on advertisements."
Also, stricter penalties will be needed for content creators who violate the guidelines. "Other than losing subscribers, there should be more specific punishment measures in order to raise YouTubers' awareness," Lee said.
Omona, do you watch mukbangs? The only one I've really ever watched was Hamzy.
source: The Korea Times