Facebook accused of tricking children into spending thousands playing online games

Facebook used games to make millions off children in 'friendly fraud'

Facebook used games to make millions off children in 'friendly fraud'

Facebook workers realised that 93 per cent of chargebacks on Angry Bird were so-called "friendly fraud" by children. These cash payments are meant to look like items within the game, and its easy for a child to not realize what they're doing.

The court exhibits obtained by Reveal News (a branch of the US Centre for Investigative Reporting), independently verified against the US District Court of California's records by The Register, consist of internal Facebook emails and chat logs from people involved in the social network's payment processing teams.

The boy, who was 12 at the time, was playing a title called Ninja Saga and eventually spent $610.40 before Ms Bohannon was warned about the activity by her credit card company. For years, the company was aware that children were playing games on accounts tied to a credit card and were, in some cases, unknowingly racking up thousands of dollars in bills by simply clicking within a game to get new abilities or upgrades.

Facebook is under fire for allegedly facilitating over-spending by minors in free-to-play games on Facebook, and internal documents now show that the company chose not to implement security measures that would have prevented kids from unknowingly pouring their parents' money into games.

A full overview of the particularly troubling bits of what was released can be found over on Reveal's website, including links to the released documents and snippets of conversations between Facebook and the developers of the games in question.

Internal documents from Facebook, including chat logs, show employees of the company raising concerns about the problem.

Chelsea boss Sarri hails Emerson for Cup triumph: You're staying!
Gonzalo Higuain finally arrived at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night and Christian Pulisic is arriving in the summer. I thought we competed really well", he said. "I think we have to think about the 180 minutes, the two matches.

Apple agreed to issue USD32.5 million in refunds for allowing kids to make in-app purchases without parental consent as part of a 2014 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Finnish game developer Rovio, the name behind Angry Birds, prompted the investigation by Facebook after noticing an unusually high refund rate.

"That user looks underage as well", one Facebook employee noted, perhaps a "13ish year old".

"I think we all agree that it is really Important for Angry Birds to be a success story so if they are really concerned about the refund rate we can increase our focus on their transactions and our processes around them to try and lower their refund rate", they wrote.

After the lawsuit was settled, Facebook changed its terms and established an internal queue for in-app purchases made by USA minors.

"We were contacted by the Center for Investigative Reporting previous year, and we voluntarily unsealed documents related to a 2012 case about our refund policies for in-app purchases that parents believe were made in error by their minor children".

In a statement to USA Today, Facebook said it now works with parents and experts to offer tools for families navigating the internet.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.