Consumer Watchdog Accuses Facebook of Online Gaming Antitrust

Jun 30, 2011

Consumer Watchdog filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission charging that a virtual currency system called Facebook Credits used to play games on Facebook's social network violates antitrust law. According to the organization, Facebook controls well over 50% of the $2 billion market for virtual goods in social gaming.

Facebook is preparing to release new terms for Facebook Credits that will require developers of Facebook games to use the Facebook Credit system in their games, and must agree not to charge lower prices to consumers outside of Facebook. The transactions will also incur a 30% service fee that will be directed to Facebook itself.

The complaint asks the FTC to issue an injunction that would stop the contract, and also asks the FTC to investigate a deal between Facebook and Zynga Inc. as a possible "unreasonable restraint on trade."