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New Facebook lawsuit highlights trouble with kids and virtual currency

New Facebook lawsuit highlights trouble with kids and virtual currency

April 20, 2012 | By Mike Rose

April 20, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Facebook is facing legal action from the parent of a teenager who claims that minors are able to purchase Facebook Credits for use in games on the social network, and that this goes against California's consumer protection laws.

Glynnis Bohannon has filed a complaint against the company with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, demanding a refund, not only for the purchases made by her son, but also for those made by all minors in the U.S.

This isn't the only recent instance of companies getting in trouble over minors purchasing credits for social games. A U.S. District Judge has chosen to uphold a handful of claims that Apple distributed free iOS apps that trick children into money in-app purchases.

Children are legally allowed to create a Facebook account from the age of 13 -- however, Facebook's rules state that any child under the age of 18 must ask for a parent's permission before purchasing Facebook Credits.

Bohannon alleges that this goes against consumer protection laws in the state, and is now seeking refunds from Facebook for, according to the legal documents, "all parents and legal guardians in the United States whose minor children made unauthorized purchases of Facebook Credits from the minor child's Facebook account," to the tune of $5 million.

The apps in question in this case most often target young children, and urge them to buy additional items to succeed, with kids sometimes racking up huge credit card bills.

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