Facebook allegedly fooled kids into spending their parents' money on online games

Court documents reportedly raise questions about Facebook's business ethics

By Jack Roskopp - Graham Media Group

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

At least these kids who spent their parents' money on online games actually have an excuse as to why it happened. 

Reveal recently reported that Facebook allegedly tricked kids into spending their parents' money on online games such as Angry Birds, PetVille and Ninja Saga, citing court documents from a 2012 class action lawsuit.

A federal judge released the sealed documents after a request from Reveal -- "documents that include internal company memos, secret strategies and employee emails."

The report alleges that Facebook was conducting business and encouraged "friendly fraud," which is basically telling developers to let kids unwillingly spend money on games. Some people had credit cards attached to their Facebook accounts, so employees complained that kids were unaware of money being exchanged. Documents said that Facebook ignored the complaints. 

Facebook also ignored employees who developed a fix for the problem, by not enforcing the fix, Reveal reported. 

There is even a story about a teen who allegedly spent $6,500 in two weeks on Facebook gaming, and the company reportedly did not give the parents the money back.

Can you imagine the grounding they must have received?

"We have now released additional documents as instructed by the court," a company spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement. "Facebook works with parents and experts to offer tools for families navigating Facebook and the web. As part of that work, we routinely examine our own practices, and in 2016, agreed to update our terms and provide dedicated resources for refund requests related to purchases made by minors on Facebook."

Experts say to always be careful when playing any sort of games on Facebook, and to check to see if your credit card information is attached to your account or not. 

Graham Media Group 2019