Facebook lawsuit reveals ‘friendly fraud’ tactics it employed against underage online gamers


For many of us, Facebook use is something we do grudgingly — we’re never quite liking the social platform, but we’re also unable to completely disconnect from it. From selling your information to third-party vendors to filtering the news we see (or don’t), Facebook has taken a lot of deserved flak for its nefarious practices.

So stack this one onto that pile as well: The social network apparently knowingly engaged in “friendly fraud” tactics¬†for years now to manipulate and scam children in online games.¬†Friendly fraud, according to the company’s memos, is when a game manages to get a kid’s parent’s credit card information for an initial purchase and then slyly starts racking up additional transactions as the kid unknowingly clicks on different parts of a game.

As part of a class action lawsuit that started back in 2012, a judge has recently ordered Facebook to reveal its anti-consumer practices via internal memos that appear to educate and encourage developers to continue implementing friendly fraud into their titles, even after Facebook’s own internal research proved that almost none of the players understood they were being charged. Polygon reports that if the lawsuit is successful, it could force Facebook to repay families millions that have been spent by their children in games like Ninja Saga over the years. Let’s call that “friendly retribution.”

Source: Polygon, Reveal
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