Facebook Hit With Lawsuit Over Kids Spending Without Parental Permission

Facebook and U.S. DollarA U.S. District Judge ruled this week that Facebook must face a class-action lawsuit that wants the social media giant to provide refunds when children spend money on the site without parental permission. The lawsuit says that Facebook violates California law when it dictates that all sales are final.

This case is not without precedent; just last year, Apple had to pay out $32.5 million in a settlement over children making in-app purchases. The suit against Facebook reportedly features a class of users numbering in the hundreds of thousands, though the judge overseeing the case ruled that they cannot seek refunds as a group. Instead, they may be able to pursue refunds on an individual basis since each case deals with a different amount of spent money.

The lawsuit, originally brought by parents of two children, dealt with one kid who took his parent’s debit card and racked up $1,059 in charges, while the other spent hundreds of real dollars when he thought he was using in-game currency.

Another problem: Facebook sets a minimum age for users at 13, though many kids simply lie to circumvent the rule. Some parents even do it for their kids to set them up on the site. All of these factors combine to give parents in the case some hope they’ll win, though Facebook has said that it believes the lawsuit “lacks merit.”