The suit alleges the social media giant made it hard for parents to get their money back.
A Facebook employee responding to Angry Birds maker Rovio's concerns about refund requests from parents emailed colleagues to say that almost all the parents knew their children were playing the game, but didn't think they could make purchases within it without parental approval, a released document showed.
Investigators made a decision to take a closer look at Facebook's practices after a Finish game developer called 'Rovio' apparently flagged up what CIR's report describes as "alarmingly high refund rates" from in-game purchases.
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.
In 2016, Facebook settled a class-action lawsuit brought by parents of children who were tricked into unwittingly making purchases with real money while playing free video games hosted on the social media platform. Numerous parents did not know Facebook was storing their credit card information.
A team of Facebook employees even went so far as to develop a system that could have prevented children from unknowingly spending their parent's money, but the company chose never to implement it. Employees suggested giving money back, but leaders did not respond to those suggestions.
The internal Facebook memos and other records were unsealed late Thursday.
In one such case, two employees discuss charges amounting to $US6545 ($9221), and acknowledge that the child claims to be 15 years old but looks younger. But the documents say Facebook didn't adopt them for fear of undercutting revenue. "This seems quite high to me, but it might just be normal for games on Facebook", wrote the Rovio employee. For years, the company was aware that children were playing games on accounts tied to a credit card and were, in some cases, unknowingly racking up thousands of dollars in bills by simply clicking within a game to get new abilities or upgrades. But the link was frequently unclear to parents and children.
In 2011, a Facebook risk analyst flagged the issue, concluding that children things within games using their parents' payment information - stored by the company after an initial purchase - didn't know what they were doing, Gizmodo reported.
In a statement to Reveal, the social network said that "Facebook works with parents and experts to offer tools for families navigating Facebook and the web", and that "we routinely examine our own practices".
The company said it's also updated its Terms of Service to make it easier to request and receive refunds.