BBB National Programs Archive
CARU Recommends Fantage Modify Website Better Comply with CARU Guidelines; Company Agrees to Do So
New York, NY – June 23, 2015 – Fantage, operator of Fantage.com, a virtual world for children and young teens, said it will revise age-screening practices to comply with Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) guidelines.
CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. CARU monitors advertising to children in all media. CARU also examines websites and apps for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising – which includes guidelines on online privacy protection – and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Fantage.com describes itself as a virtual space where children “can explore the world with their own personal avatar, which they can customize by choosing distinctive features, hairstyles, and clothing.”
Upon CARU’s initial review, the site’s registration page required visitors to enter a username and password, select their age from a drop-down menu and provide an email contact. If a visitor selected an age that was under 13, the email field changed to request a “parent/guardian email.” If the visitor then changed the selection to an age over 13, the email field changed back to “email address” and the visitor could enter an email address and complete his or her registration.
CARU was concerned that the site did not employ a tracking mechanism to prevent children under the age of 13 from easily going back and changing their age to circumvent age-screening as required by CARU’s guidelines and by COPPA.
In response to CARU’s inquiry, Fantage.com said that it would modify the site.
Fantage.com, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company has “reviewed this case decision and decided to follow CARU’s decision in its entirety. We already made all of the changes recommended by CARU. We will continue to correspond with CARU to make sure that our site remains in full compliance with COPPA and its advertising regulations and practices. Fantage is very grateful for CARU’s recommendations.”