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rcmaehl

You'll never catch me alive COPPA - Facebook's profiteering of children lawsuit unsealed

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Posted · Original PosterOP

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BleepingComputer
 

TL;DR:

A now publicized class action lawsuit from 2012 has revealed Facebook has refused to take action to prevent abuse of in-game purchases; In some cases referring to children as "whales", A casino term for high spenders.

 

Quotes/Excerpts:

Quote

According to court documents part of a 2012 class-action lawsuit made public by a federal judge, Facebook has made a habit of charging kids without their parents' knowledge while playing games. Unlike other platforms, Facebook will not require its users to re-authenticate every time they want to purchase. Right now only four documents have been partially made available for analysis. Facebook has been ordered to also release to the public roughly one hundred more pages of information pertaining to the class action. The lead plaintiff in the case was a child who used his mother’s credit card. 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."  After the child's mother decided to ask for a money refund...Facebook refused to oblige. In one of the unsealed documents, two Facebook employees deny a refund request from a child whom they refer to as a “whale”, a term coined by the casino industry to describe profligate spenders. The child had entered a credit card number to play a game, and in about two weeks racked up thousands of dollars in charges. The only response Facebook had regarding this situation was a dry one-sentence answer stating that "We appreciate the court’s careful review of these materials." The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) together with seventeen other organizations filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accusing the social media giant of breaking the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

 

My Thoughts:

I have yet to read the documents now available, however I would hope that a child being a "whale" is taken out of context and made in a less immoral statement. I can understand that children should be monitored by their parents when gaming, however games and apps also should not save purchase information by default.


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2 minutes ago, rcmaehl said:

believed these purchases were being made with virtual currency

There are a number of ways this digital trickery could be achieved, I don't know the UI of the game but no matter what, it should make it abundantly clear that real dollars are spent. The fact that credit card info inside a game doesn't need to be re authenticated is a huge issue because Facebook would have to play dumb and act like kids would always be careful enough to tell the difference.


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I bet shit like this is what lead to the early developments of parents thinking gaming is toxic. All because they couldn't keep their child from typing in their credit card numbers. Would that be considered identity theft?

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8 minutes ago, rcmaehl said:

I can understand that children should be monitored by their parents when gaming, however games and apps also should not save purchase information by default.

Its all very easy to say that Parents should look after their children more and not use video games to babysit, but in this day and age when kids are getting tablets, its hard when companies themselves are taking advantage of the kids. Maybe not everyone has time to go out and buy gift cards to stop this, or they are unavailable for the video game. 

 

Its kind of sickening that companies are directly targeting kids like this full stop. Inexcusable.

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Facebook is really falling on it's face lately. Hopefully this marks the beginning of the end.


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6 minutes ago, RorzNZ said:

Its all very easy to say that Parents should look after their children more and not use video games to babysit,

At the very least, this is hopefully a great reminder not to give credit cards to young kids. Microtransactions are stupid for adults and they're more stupid for kids.

The main problem is that Facebook is preying on parents assuming that the game won't charge without validation, much like every other credit card transaction. I honestly feel like that feature in a game should be illegal considering these reprocissions.


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well this is another thing to add to my disgust for Facebook then!


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What makes kids want to take the credit card or why would a parent let their kid use the card? When I was 12 and started playing csgo, I'll admit I was obsessed with gun skins and wanted cool, expensive stuff, but taking my parent's card is something I never considered doing. Maybe it's because I knew my dad still checks his card history? I feel like someone with good credit score would at least check their card history.


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Why those kids played on the parents phone in the first place? FB is a greedy scumbag and all but this is the root problem.... Parents often give their kids their phone/tablet so they keep quiet instead of caring and looking after them as they should.

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Just now, mynameisjuan said:

How the hell is this facebooks fault?

 

-unsupervised kids

-Fucking credit card

-"free to play game"

 

Kids went hog wild and they want to blame FB because they were terrible parents and couldnt watch their kids. 

Agreed. Maybe it isn't the best idea to keep purchase confirmation off by default, but these parents just want a payday because they can't pay any sort of attention to their kids.


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Why are we looking to blame someone for providing a service that people are using?  Its not the services fault:

 

1.) Parents are choosing to allow kids to play them

2.) Parents are choosing to allow their Credit Card information be saved on the tablet or game

3.) Parents are choosing to not use the features a Credit Card company provides by blocking certain transactions even SPECIFIC transactions types.

 

Choice.  These parents are making a choice.  Im a parent, this would be my fault.

 


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2 hours ago, TempestCatto said:

I bet shit like this is what lead to the early developments of parents thinking gaming is toxic. All because they couldn't keep their child from typing in their credit card numbers. Would that be considered identity theft?

why would parents just give their kid a credit card unattended? that's just asking for it...

 

"hey dad can i buy this game" "sure" *hands kid credit card* *kid buys $1000 in fish food*

 

I mean it's stupid. Look at what your kids want and tell them yes/no/what they can have. teach them basic money management. do something.


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2 minutes ago, Tristerin said:

Parents are choosing to not use the features a Credit Card company provides by blocking certain transactions even SPECIFIC transactions types.

Although I'm not a parent (never will be) I never knew this was a thing. Maybe their banks don't provide enough info on it, or they're just not reading the info that comes with cards in the first place (I know I didn't). But that's pretty interesting you can do that, and honestly makes a whole lotta sense too.

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Just now, bcredeur97 said:

why would parents just give their kid a credit card unattended? that's just asking for it...

 

"hey dad can i buy this game" "sure" *hands kid credit card* *kid buys $1000 in fish food*

 

I mean it's stupid. Look at what your kids want and tell them yes/no/what they can have

My example was a parent leaving their wallet or purse on a table or counter top. Most people usually take all the shit out of their pockets and don't carry their bags around the house. If it's within a child's reach....

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Just now, TempestCatto said:

Although I'm not a parent (never will be) I never knew this was a thing. Maybe their banks don't provide enough info on it, or they're just not reading the info that comes with cards in the first place (I know I didn't). But that's pretty interesting you can do that, and honestly makes a whole lotta sense too.

I can only speak from the USA, however all banks, credit unions...all of them...provide this type of service (debit cards).  All the major credit card companies too (for credit cards).

 

While someone may be naïve to this, the first two items in my list are the problem, this one is just a FAILSAFE lol.


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Just now, TempestCatto said:

My example was a parent leaving their wallet or purse on a table or counter top. Most people usually take all the shit out of their pockets and don't carry their bags around the house. If it's within a child's reach....

This, requires a hefty ass beating on the parents part.  My kid would RUE the day they did this.  And would never do it again :)


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Just now, Tristerin said:

This, requires a hefty ass beating on the parents part.  My kid would RUE the day they did this.  And would never do it again :)

My mom always used to hang her purse on a chair in the dining room. I knew to never even look at it, and if I wanted something from it (like a mint or some gum) I knew to ask for it. The only time I'd ever go in her purse was if she was upstairs and her cellphone rang, I'd rush it up to her so she could answer it. Maybe my parents were better at teaching and disciplining me than most of today's ones.

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Just now, TempestCatto said:

My mom always used to hang her purse on a chair in the dining room. I knew to never even look at it, and if I wanted something from it (like a mint or some gum) I knew to ask for it. The only time I'd ever go in her purse was if she was upstairs and her cellphone rang, I'd rush it up to her so she could answer it. Maybe my parents were better at teaching and disciplining me than most of today's ones.

I would say that my generation (Im 34 - I grew up in foster care etc so my reference on being a good parent is to be opposite of my shit parents) is a big problem.  They are for the most part irresponsible and always looking to blame someone else for their childrens actions/reactions.

 

Parenting starts at home :)

 

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41 minutes ago, TempestCatto said:

My example was a parent leaving their wallet or purse on a table or counter top. Most people usually take all the shit out of their pockets and don't carry their bags around the house. If it's within a child's reach....

watch your children. teach them what stealing is and why it is wrong?

It's all a parenting problem... yes it's hard... that's how it is with kids. sorry?


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Parenting - The act of the word "whatever" and then regretting it


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40 minutes ago, bcredeur97 said:

watch your children. teach them what stealing is and why it is wrong?

It's all a parenting problem... yes it's hard... that's how it is with kids. sorry?

I really don't understand you anymore. You're talking as if I don't get the point, as if I'm arguing with you or something (since it's not so clear to you, I'm not arguing anything, I'm giving examples of shit that happens in a lot of peoples lives). Your demeanor seems to be that of condescending. So other than that, I'm not sure how else you want me to respond to you.

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6 minutes ago, TempestCatto said:

I really don't understand you anymore. You're talking as if I don't get the point, as if I'm arguing with you or something (since it's not so clear to you, I'm not arguing anything, I'm giving examples of shit that happens in a lot of peoples lives). Your demeanor seems to be that of condescending. So other than that, I'm not sure how else you want me to respond to you.

didn't mean it that way at all. Just saying if the kid knows not to steal; he/she isn't going to steal the money you leave out if they truly know it's for you.

 

there will always be exceptions... but that really should be very rare if ppl would just teach their kids right


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3 hours ago, rcmaehl said:

whales

when you said that i thought of a fat person...

man i got to get off 4chan...


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