Documents reveal how Facebook tricked children into spending money

Facebook used games to make millions off children in 'friendly fraud'

Facebook employees also reportedly used the term "friendly fraud" to refer to purchases made by children without their parents' permission.

Senator Ed Markey raised concerns about YouTube channels targeting children with deceptive toy reviews, and Senator Maggie Hassan secured a pledge from FTC Chairman Joseph Simons to launch an investigation into the video game industry's use of loot boxes in games targeting children.

In relation to the hugely successful Facebook game 'Angry Birds, ' a memo included in the documents obtained by CIR written by Facebook employee Danny Stein noted how, "in almost all cases the parents knew their children was playing Angry Birds, but didn't think the child would be allowed to buy anything without their password or authorisation first".

Facebook told the tech site that it voluntarily unsealed some documents related to the issue after Reveal contacted the firm, and then produced more documents to comply with a court order. However, Facebook had stored the credit card information without Bhannan's son's knowledge and had charged it as he played the game.

One of the documents outlines a term called "Friendly Fraud", which describes the practice of children spending money on games without their parents' consent.

While the documents are old, they shed light on Facebook's past business practices as the company continues to be under huge scrutiny for its numerous privacy breaches.

After a series of scandals, Facebook is under fire again over newly released documents that show an apparent pattern of exploiting minors for their parents' money.

While not foolproof, Ms Stewart - who appears to have put forward the measure - said she believed it would "curb the spending of the least savvy minors".

Another anecdote shared by the Reveal News roundup captures a conversation between Angry Birds developer Rovio and Facebook in which the developer noticed that 5 to 10 percent of in-game transactions were being refunded. Bohannon was frustrated by her inability to get Facebook to refund her money and was quickly joined in the lawsuit by other parents.

One company memo even states: "Friendly Fraud - what it is, why it's challenging, and why you shouldn't block it".

Engadget reached out to Facebook for comment regarding Reveal's reporting and will update this story if we hear back.

In some cases, the documents say, the social media giant refused to issue refunds to parents who found children had been spending their money. With that settlement, Facebook agreed "to dedicate an internal queue to refund requests for in-app purchases made by USA minors". In 2016, Facebook made a decision to settle the case, paying two families $US5000 ($7044) and agreeing to change its practices.

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