A coalition of 16 consumer groups on Thursday called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Facebook engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of a major children's privacy law.
This latest complaint to the FTC, which is already probing a range of the tech giant's business practices, is in response to documents unsealed from a 2012 class action lawsuit that was settled in 2016.
Internal Facebook documents released in response to a Freedom of Information request by the Center for Investigative Reporting reportedly revealed the company was knowingly tricking children into making in-game purchases and made refunds almost impossible to receive with a complicated bureaucratic process.
Advocates want the FTC to examine whether Facebook employed unfair business practices by charging children for purchases made without parental consent. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit advocating for child health, and the other organizations filing the complaint, also want the federal agency to investigate whether Facebook violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which makes it unlawful for any operator of a website or online service directed at children to collect personal information from a child" without verifiable parental consent.