The documents released Thursday night are part of a 2012 lawsuit against the company, which alleges that Facebook knew kids were making the purchases and made it hard for parents to get their money back, CBS News reported.
The cited documents allege that Facebook encouraged "friendly fraud", meaning developers should let kids unknowingly spend money on their games. In many cases, over-spending by minors was the result of either children not realizing they were spending real money by purchasing in-game goodies and currency, or parents not knowing that their credit card information had been stored in the games that their kids are playing.
A full overview of the particularly troubling bits of what was released can be found over on Reveal's website, including links to the released documents and snippets of conversations between Facebook and the developers of the games in question. The documents also show that Facebook typically refused refund requests when it received them from cardholders, according to the report.
To understand just how bad the problem was, one child mentioned in the papers made $6,500 in in-game purchases on his parents' credit card in just two weeks.
Facebook has settled a class action lawsuit that had accused it of allowing children to run up huge bills on their parents' credit cards as part of a concerted effort to maximise revenues.
The lawsuit that led to the release of the documents was eventually settled in 2016, when Facebook agreed "to dedicate an internal queue to refund requests for in-app purchases made by United States minors". She also said it would "make sense to start refunding for blatant FF-minor".
Rovio was listed in the documents as having noticed a 5% to 10% refund rate through Facebook. But this week, newly released court documents have outlined even more victims of the social network's deception: young gamers, and their parents. The unflattering documents are emerging after the non-profit Center for Investigative Reporting sought their release and U.S. District Judge Beth Freeman granted it. One deposition shows Facebook employees were reluctant to reduce this "friendly fraud" because it would likely also reduce the company's overall revenue. "Facebook works with parents and experts to offer tools for families navigating Facebook", a spokesperson said. Bohannon was frustrated by her inability to get Facebook to refund her money and was quickly joined in the lawsuit by other parents. The average is around 0.5%, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).