CARU Refers FBKIDS, FBKIDDIES To FTC For Further Review Website Operator Fails To Respond To CARU’s Inquiry

 New York – March 17, 2011 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has referred Website operator fbfkids.com (formerly Facebook for Kids.com) to the Federal Trade Commission, following the Website operator’s failure to participate in a review of its sites’ privacy practices.

CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined the sites pursuant to CARU’s monitoring of Websites directed to children.

CARU monitors Websites for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising, including guidelines on Online Privacy Protection, as well as with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Upon initial review, CARU determined that the Websites, which expressly state that they are for children under the age of 13, allow visitors to create a user profile, play games, chat with other members in real time, and post pictures and videos. To register, a visitor must enter a username, email address and password.

At the time of CARU’s initial review, the fbfkids.com Website did not have a privacy policy.

In the chat rooms and profiles, children could enter personally identifiable information (PII) including a full name and telephone number. 

CARU’s guidelines and COPPA require a Website operator to obtain verifiable parental consent prior to collecting PII such as an email address or allowing children to participate in a chat room where they can post PII.

The operator, contacted by CARU, did not provide a substantive written response. Given the operator’s failure to do so, CARU will, pursuant section 2.10(B) of the NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures, refer this inquiry to the Federal Trade Commission for further review.