Facebook’s Purchase Policy Sparks Multimillion Dollar Lawsuit

Posted on April 23, 2012 by Rae Michelle Richards

Is Facebook doing enough to prevent underage users from purchasing digital goods using their parent’s credit cards? This question is at the center of a multimillion dollar lawsuit launched in California. The lawsuit alleges that giving minors the ability to purchase ‘Facebook Credits’ goes against California’s consumer protection legislation.

The complaint comes after Gynniss Bohannon, a Northern California resident, noticed that her teenage son had made purchases using her credit card through the site. She is now seeking reparations for ‘ all parents and legal guardians in the United States whose children made unauthorized purchases’.

Facebook offers basic Parental Control options allowing users (and their parents if underage) to control what information is shared on the public profile page as well as who may see status updates. All purchases made through Facebook applications do prompt the user to confirm the purchase before a charge takes place, however it is very plausible to assume that parents do not watch over their children’s shoulders every minute of the day.

What is your take on Facebook’s Parental controls? Should parents be responsible for charges they did not authorize? Lots of questions are raised by this complaint and I think it will be interesting to see if the court upholds the charges in question.

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