Facebook has been accused of deliberately addressing children in order to try shopping in the game, pursue revenues at the expense of children and their parents.
According to Reveal (through Reddit), he apparently obtained legal documents of a class action lawsuit ordered by a United States District court judge who stagnated early This month, Facebook orchestrated a campaign to pretend that children and their parents pay thousands of dollars to maximize benefits for games like Angry Birds, PetVille and Ninja Saga. Facebook had until January 24 to make some of the judicial documents – ranging from 2010 to 2014 – public.
By calling on the practice "friendly fraud" and, apparently, ignoring the personal efforts of the staff to protect vulnerable users, the children encouraged them to shop without the permission of their parents, while in other cases , they were not even aware that they were spending "real" money at all. And in cases where children had accumulated huge expenses, such as $ 6,500 in one case, Facebook employees were told to refuse requests for reimbursement, as reported by the children "whales", the same term used by the Game industry to shoot big investors.
Despite rejection rejections, many parents continued their claims with the Better Business Bureau of the United States in such numbers that the Federal Trade Commission used to call the "red flag" of this company, so Reveal called "misleading entrepreneurial practices ". Analyzing your data from October 12, 2010 until January 12, 2011, he considered that children had "spent an immense amount of $ 3.6 million" in this one three-month period, but The credit card recovered more than 9 percent of the money companies. The average charge rate for businesses is 0.5 percent, and 1 percent is considered "high." 2 percent believe that it is a "red flag" indicator of a "deceptive" business.
Facebook employee Tara Stewart said in July 2011 that "if developers are really worried about the [chargebacks] and no reimbursements, it could make sense to start reimbursing for flagrant [friendly-fraud of minors]The games "PetVille, Happy Aquarium, Wild Ones, Barn Buddy and any Ninja game" were identified by Stewart as particularly problematic, because, as Stewart said, "it does not necessarily look like" real "money for a child.
While it is read as if Stewart tried to protect children and prevent them from performing charges, in practice they seemed to worry about avoiding charges or reimbursements, which were usually granted when parents insisted that they did not say that Facebook was storing your credit card information or allowing transactions with a credit card without going through a verification process. She and her colleagues designed a system where the user will have to enter the first six digits of the credit card number, forcing "the child to prove that they are in possession of the card of credit ".
"Often, reimbursements /[chargebacks] It occurs because a parent allows your child to spend in a small denomination and do not realize that [credit card] the information will be stored, "he wrote in internal documents.
Rovio, the studio behind Angry Birds, was worried about the high Facebook freight rates, according to an email that a studio employee sent to Facebook.
"We've been seeing reimbursement rates of 5-10 percent in terms of credits spent so far on Angry Birds. This seems quite high for me, but it could be normal for Facebook games," a Rovio employee wrote to Facebook. A subsequent investigation into Angry Birds showed that the average Facebook player of the game, just five years old, used to play with parental permission, but 93 percent of the time, parents had no idea that the child could make a payment without further authorization.
Following what he identified as "a great need to educate developers," Facebook employees encouraged developers to handle complaints and surcharges by offering free virtual elements because "virtual goods are free of cost ". Other claims were accused of 50% of the time, the user did not receive receipts for the purchases integrated in the application, and the mechanisms of Facebook reports seemed deliberately broken.
"I was trapped in a multitude of questions today," an employee sent by email after an internal test. "It seems that the form is this Frankenstein beast that we have overdone in the last 6 months."
"This makes us think: how many users resign," added another.
Facebook refused to answer specific Reveal questions, but said in a statement: "The Information Recognition Center contacted him last year and we, voluntarily, released the documents related to a case of 2012 on our refund policies for integrated purchases that parents believe were made in error by their minor children. We intend to release additional documents as indicated by the court.
"Facebook works with parents and experts to provide tools for families browsing Facebook and the web. As part of this work, we routinely examine our own practices and, in 2016, accepted to update our terms and provide resources dedicated to reimbursement requests related to purchases. for minors on Facebook ".