This week, another story of why Facebook can’t be trusted came out, as a new report shows the company knowingly got kids to spend money on their games. Reveal is reporting that over 135 pages of records have been revealed in a class-action lawsuit against the company, showing that employees knowingly planned and marketed several of their games to kids with the expressed intent of encouraging underaged players to spend money they didn’t have on their games. This includes information gathered from internal memos, secret strategies, and employee emails that encouraged developers to let kids spend money without their parent’s permission. Games named in the lawsuit include Angry Birds, PetVille and Ninja Saga.
A very dark picture is being painted as the documents show employees warned the company they were duping kids into the activity, and that the company knew for a fact that thousands of people didn’t even know their credit cards were attached to their Facebook account. There’s even a report showing staffers made attempts to minimize this, but not only were their plans not used, the company also encouraged devs to make games that would increase their revenue. U.S. District Court Judge Beth Freeman ordered the documents unsealed back on January 14th and gave Facebook until January 24th to do so with the catch that some of the documents could remain partially redacted. The decision was made after The Center for Investigative Reporting argued last year that the public had the right to know Facebook was targeting children.
The entire report is worth a read, including many of the documents that Reveal posted throughout if you got time for a read. But no matter how you look at it, the entire situation is a pretty disgusting mess. And if you’re a parent with a kid who spends a lot of time on social media, you probably might want to check your accounts to make sure a credit card isn’t tied to anything you don’t want it to be. We’ll keep an eye on the lawsuit to see how things pan out.