According to Adweek, the Center for Digital Democracy and 13 other advocacy groups focused on children’s issues filed several complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on August 22 asking the government regulator to investigate six child-targeted websites. The groups are concerned that marketers may have violated children's online privacy laws by asking young visitors participating in games and activities related to the site’s brand to "tell a friend" or "refer a friend" to the site.

Sites mentioned in the complaints are McDonald's HappyMeal.com; General Mills' ReesesPuff.com and TrixWorld.com; Doctor's Associates' SubwayKids.com; Viacom's Nick.com; and Turner Broadcasting's CartoonNetwork.com.  

The advocacy groups charge that the "tell a friend" campaigns circumvent the requirements in the FTC’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rules that require operators of a website directed to children under 13 not to collect personal information from children without parental permission.  

Click here to read Adweek’s coverage of the complaints.  

Click here to read the Center for Digital Democracy’s press release and complaints to the FTC.