October 24th, 2012
McDonald’s removes networking features in some online games
By Cecilia Kang
The Washington Post
McDonald’s said it has removed social networking features in some of its online games after a privacy advocacy group complained to federal regulators that the restaurant chain was violating child online privacy laws.
In a complaint filed last August to the Federal Trade Commission, the Center for Digital Democracy said McDonald’s was using a “tell-a-friend” feature on games and other functions of HappyMeal.com and McWorld.com that asked children to upload photos and videos onto the site and then pass along that information to friends. McDonald’s also asked for children to list the e-mail addresses of friends, without gathering parental consent for that information.
The practice, CDD said, was a form of deceptive viral marketing that violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. By collecting information such as e-mail addresses, McDonald’s wasn’t adequately disclosing its collection of personal data and didn’t ask for parents’ permission.