McDonald’s yanks social features from kids-oriented online portal

Fast food giant McDonald’s has removed the HappyMeal.com’s social features after it was accused of violating child online privacy laws.

The Huffington Post reports McDonald’s announced it removed the virtual world’s “forward-to-a-friend” feature following a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. Privacy advocacy group The Center for Digital Democracy accused McDonald’s of ignoring the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and using deceptive marketing practices to get underage users to give up their friends email addresses without acquiring parental permission.

HappyMeal.com not only provides games for kids to play, it also allows lets users input Happy Meal codes to unlock site rewards. The upper left hand of the site now includes the message “Hey Kids, this is advertising!” though it isn’t apparent if this was in place before Friday’s changes.

Meanwhile, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Center for Digital Democracy and the Center for Science in the Public Interest are also planning to file FTC complaints against groups like General Mills, Subway, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

The FTC is clearly taking a more active role in going after groups who violate the Children’s Online Privacy Act. Back in March, RockYou finally settled with the FTC after it collected information from roughly 179,000 children (many of whom were younger than 13-years-old) without their parents’ consent. The settlement required the company to pay a $250,000 civil penalty and submit to security audits every other year for 20 years.

Marketing with Facebook Insights

Mediabistro Course

Marketing with Facebook Insights

Starting October 2, use Facebook’s analytics tool track and optimize your marketing efforts! Taught by the group marketing manager of social media at Microsoft/BingAds, Geoffrey Colon will show you how to measure key performance indicators and make your data actionable. Register now!

 

Leave a Reply

One Response to “McDonald’s yanks social features from kids-oriented online portal”

  1. Advertising to Children: How Online is Changing the Rules | Change Conversations says:

    [...] McDonald’s yanks social features from kids-oriented online portal Tweet (function() { var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = 'text/javascript'; po.async = true; po.src = 'https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })(); [...]

Get the latest news in your inbox
interested in advertising with inside social games?

Social Media Jobs
of the Day

Senior Web Developer

Kaufmann Mercantile
Brooklyn, NY

Director of Web and Online Services

University of California at Irvine
Irvine, CA

Web Producer / Designer

Purch
New York, NY

Marketing Graphic / Web Designer

Collectrium
New York, NY

Web Production Designer (Contrator)

Marvel Entertainment
New York, NY

Featured Company

Join leading companies like this one and recruit from the nation's top media job seekers on the Mediabistro Job Board. Every job post comes with our satisfaction guarantee. Learn More
 

Our Sponsors

Mediabistro A division of Prometheus Global Media home | site map | advertising/sponsorships | careers | contact us | help courses | browse jobs | freelancers | content | member benefits | reprints & permissions terms of use | privacy policy Copyright © 2014 Mediabistro Inc. call (212) 389-2000 or email us