In some cases hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and then often refused to give the money back, according to court documents unsealed tonight in response to a Reveal legal action.
The records are part of a class-action lawsuit focused on how Facebook targeted children in an effort to expand revenue for online games, such as Angry Birds, PetVille and Ninja Saga.
Facebook encouraged game developers to let children spend money without their parents’ permission – something the social media giant called “friendly fraud” – in an effort to maximize revenues, according to a document detailing the company’s game strategy.
Perhaps even worse, the children didn’t even realize they were spending real money within the game, “It doesn’t necessarily look like ‘real’ money to a minor.”
Sometimes the children did not even know they were spending money, according to another internal Facebook report. Facebook employees knew this. Their own reports showed underage users did not realize their parents’ credit cards were connected to their Facebook accounts and they were spending real money in the games, according to the unsealed documents.