Press Release

The Roblox Metaverse is Deceiving Consumers According to TINA.org Investigation

MADISON, CONN. April 18, 2022 – With more than 50 million daily users, approximately half of which are children aged 13 and under, the online gameplay and creation platform Roblox is one of the biggest players in the rapidly expanding world of metaverses. But according to an investigation by ad watchdog TINA.org, advertising is being surreptitiously pushed on millions of unsuspecting Roblox users in numerous ways because the multibillion-dollar public company has failed to establish any meaningful guardrails to ensure compliance with truth in advertising laws on its platform.

Brands and their influencers are exploiting this lack of oversight to manipulate millions of consumers into unknowingly participating in branded worlds (i.e. advergames), interacting with undisclosed avatar influencers (i.e., avatars created by paid brand endorsers) as well as AI-controlled promotional bots, and spending immense amounts of time and money on the platform. In addition, consumers, including minors, are being lured Roblox with unsubstantiated and atypical earnings representations including that users can make an enormous amount of Robux (the platform’s virtual currency) and millions of dollars as game developers, despite the fact that the vast majority of Roblox game developers will never make any money. Truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging it to investigate Roblox and take appropriate enforcement action.

“Deceptive advertising in the form of hidden advergames, undisclosed influencer marketing and unsubstantiated income claims has found a new home in the Roblox metaverse with potentially disastrous results for consumers, particularly children,” said TINA.org executive director, Bonnie Patten.

TINA.org’s investigation found that a number of companies, including Nike, Vans, Netflix and Mattel, among others, have jumped into the Roblox metaverse with reckless abandon creating undisclosed advertisements and other promotional content that are disguised as games and often indistinguishable from organic content. And while being able to discern what is and isn’t marketing is difficult for adult users on the platform, it is impossible for the more than 25 million children playing in this metaverse on a daily basis as children are unable to identify advergames.

To read more about TINA.org’s investigation of Roblox, see: https://truthinadvertising.org/brands/roblox/

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