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January 20, 2019

Reason #235 NOT To Use Facebook

January 20, 2019 has uncovered documents showing how Facebook made money (or”inappropriately profited”) from children by exploiting the confusion some kids have between real and fantasy money.

“The lead plaintiff in the case was a child who used his mother’s credit card to pay $20 while playing a game on Facebook. The child, referred to as “I.B.” in the case, did not know the social media giant had stored his mom’s payment information. As he continued to play the game, Ninja Saga, Facebook continued to charge his mom’s credit card, racking up several hundred dollars in just a few weeks. The child “believed these purchases were being made with virtual currency, and that his mother’s credit card was not being charged for these purchases,” according to a previous ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Beth Freeman.  When the bill came, his mom requested Facebook refund the money, saying she never authorized any charges beyond the original $20. But the company never refunded any money, forcing the family to file a lawsuit in pursuit of a refund.

The documents — which have been withheld by the company for years — reveal “widespread confusion by children and their parents, who didn’t understand Facebook continued to charge them as they played games.”  Even Facebook employees worried about the issue:

“In nearly all cases the parents knew their child was playing Angry Birds, but didn’t think the child would be allowed to buy anything without their password or authorization first,” according to an internal Facebook memo. The memo noted that on other platforms, such as Apple’s iPhone, people were required to reauthorize additional purchases, such as by re-entering a password … Yet the company continued to deny refunds to children, profiting from their confusion.”


Previous Reasons Not To Use Facebook.