Every year several unsuspecting children end up spending hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars from their parent’s credit cards while playing online games on Facebook.
Now, the company’s internal documents have revealed that even Facebook’s own employees believe the company is inappropriately making money off such children and their parents.
According to internal Facebook records, the social media giant has also failed to provide an effective way for parents to dispute the hefty charges billed without their knowledge.
A report by Reveal states that a bunch of Facebook’s hidden documents from a 2012 class-action lawsuit will be made public in 10 days under a federal judge’s order.
These documents hold details on how Facebook is deliberately profiting from the “widespread confusion” of kids — who don’t understand how Facebook continues to charge them as they play games.
Facebook employees have also voiced their concerns because, in most of the cases, the children are most likely to be confused by the in-game purchases as it “doesn’t necessarily look like real money to a minor.”
An internal Facebook memo states:
“In nearly all cases the parents knew their child was playing Angry Birds, but didn’t think the child would be allowed to buy anything without their password or authorization first.”
Later, Facebook denies refunds to such children and makes money off their confusion. The employees refer to such children as “whale” — a term used in the casino industry for reckless spenders.
Here’s a short excerpt of messages between two employees after a child racked up thousands of dollars in game charges:
The court also found that Facebook fails to send receipts for such purchases, and the links present on its website to dispute charges don’t work most of the time.
Another Facebook employee’s statement describing their attempt to dispute a charge goes something like this:
“I was stuck in an infinite-loop of questions just today…It feels like the form is this Frankenstein beast that we’ve bolted together.”
These are just the partly revealed information of the documents in question. We believe there is a lot of more left to be discovered once they are made public. So, stay tuned to know more in the coming days.