A new set of documents explains, Facebook accused of encouraging children to spend money on games. It have showed that how Facebook knew that the money spent on games came from minors without parental consent. The company has been aware of the problem for a long time, but decided not to stop.
Facebook has known for years and has yet allowed children to spend real money in video games hosted on the platform. They say the documents brought to the surface by Reveal News, which action started in 2012 by some parents and ended in 2016.
Facebook planned a multi-year campaign between 2010 and 2016 to encourage developers to allow their children to spend without their parents’ permission. Money, to maximize profits, Facebook calls “friendly fraud” according to the documents.
The company’s lawyers had managed to keep many of the documents secret. But now, at the request of Reveal, 135 pages have been disclosed, which shows how Facebook knew about everything and encouraged its “friendly fraud”.
According to an internal report, from October 12, 2010 and to January 12, 2011, the children had spent $ 3.6 million. Another figure confirms how Facebook knew well that they were involuntary expenses: the rate of “cashback” was 9%. Almost one in ten parents noticed the expense and tried to recover it.
The social network knew that many of the profitable transactions in games like Angry Birds were agreed by kids and without the approval of the parents, but who kept silent for fear of losing huge profits. Despite in this, the app never intervened and often denied repayment requests.
“Facebook works with parents and experts to offer tools to support families who surf on Facebook and the web. practices and in 2016 we have agreed to update our terms and provide resources dedicated to requests for reimbursements following purchases made by minors on Facebook,” states the Network in a note.
Faced with such high rate of complaints, Rovio (the company that develops Angry Birds) has asked for explanation in an email, asking if it were a particularity of the games on the site. The social network started an analysis and found that 93% of the complaints were related to unaware purchases.
“In almost all cases, parents knew their child was playing Angry Birds, but they did not think they would be allowed to buy anything without a password,” a Facebook employee told Rovio.
Their employees are still encouraging developers to induce child spending, knowing that children don’t comprehend that they are spending real money in the game, or that their parents’ credit card is associated with a Facebook account, as reported.