Class action lawyers circle Facebook


(San Jose Business Journal) A law firm from Sacramento is seeking people who were fooled into signing up for unwanted subscriptions and charges by companies who put offer ads on social networking like Facebook and MySpace.

In the latest twist in the offer ad story, Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff said it is investigating complaints about unauthorized charges imposed on users who participate in social games like "Farmville" and "Mafia Wars."

The companies that the law firm said it is looking into in addition to Facebook and MySpace are San Francisco-based Zynga Inc., Redwood City-based RockYou Inc., Fremont-based Offerpal Media, Burlingame-based Super Rewards, Boston-based Tatto Media, Double Ding, Gambit, San Francisco-based SendMe Mobile and Video Professor.

The controversy heated up last month after TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington became involved in a public and salty confrontation at a San Francisco industry conference with Offerpal founder Anu Shukla.

Shukla was subsequently replaced as Offerpal CEO by George Garrick who offered an apology for past abuses that the network had allowed and for misstatements that had been made about them.

The Palo Alto-based Facebook social network said it has been aggressive about policing ads on its service, including completely disabling two distributors.

"Our policies are clear. If you're an ad network and don’t comply with them, you are doing a disservice to your customers, and you should expect your business opportunities on Facebook to cease," the blog said, reemphasizing the policies and Facebook's commitment to enforce them.

Facebook disabled Zynga's new FishVille game on Sunday after Arrington detailed how some offers in FishVille violated Facebook's terms and conditions by failing to adequately disclose that users were entering into a $10 to $20 per month mobile subscription.



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