Consumer Watchdog Claims Facebook Changed Policy After FTC Complaint

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Consumer Watchdog is claiming victory, at least to some extent, in its push to have the Federal Trade Commission investigate Facebook's virtual money programs.

According to Consumer Watchdog, Facebook changed its terms for game developers to use its virtual money after the advocacy group asked the FTC on June 28 to look into the policies.

But Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said the policy update was "long planned" for July 1.

Consumer Watchdog argued that the social network's policy controlled the game prices on other websites, a claim that Facebook disputes.

"Faced with an antitrust complaint, Facebook tweaked one blatantly anticompetitive provision, but they've used their monopoly position to maintain an onerous burden on developers that ultimately will mean higher prices for consumers," said John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project. But without formal FTC action, he said, there is nothing to stop Facebook from changing the policy back.

In a January blog post, Facebook announced that on July 1st the company would require "all social game developers on the Facebook canvas platform to process payments through Facebook Credits."

The post went on to state that "Although we are not requiring developers to use Facebook Credits as their sole in-game currency, we are offering special incentives to those who do."

Simpson told Tech Daily Dose that after years of focusing heavily on Google, Consumer Watchdog is "broadening our concerns about the privacy and anticompetitive practices of other tech companies."

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