Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote a letter on Tuesday urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate “regarding the manipulative
marketing practices by apps designed for children”.
This comes after the release of a research study, which indicated that popular apps for children in the iOS and Android systems are filled with advertisements which prompt and encourage young children to make in-app purchases, collect their personal data, all the while distracting them from the in-game experience.
The Senators emphasized the FTC’s statutory obligation to protect consumers’ welfare from “unfair and deceptive” marketing practices. The letter also states that “[c]hildren should be able to entertain themselves and play without being bombarded by promotional messages, which young people may not be able to accurately assess and identify as marketing….As parents increasingly permit kids to engage in online games and apps for entertainment and fun, it is imperative that those playtime options are compliant with existing laws.”
The Senators are expecting a written response from the FTC on December 4, 2018.
You can read the letter here.