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Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A coalition of groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission Thursday alleging that Facebook violated children's privacy and unfairly pushed them to make purchases in applications hosted on its platform.

Why it matters: The FTC is already investigating the social network’s privacy practices regarding the Cambridge Analytica data leak last year, in light of an earlier settlement it reached with the company.

Details: The organizations, including childhood media advocates Common Sense as well as other advocacy groups, are making two main charges:

  1. That Facebook violated the federal prohibition on “unfair” practice by deceiving kids into making purchases and then making it hard for them to get a refund. "Facebook took advantage of unsuspecting kids, one of whom employees referred to as a 'whale,' using casino parlance to refer to the child’s high volume of purchases,” their complaint says.
  2. That Facebook violated a major child privacy law.

The complaint follows the release of information about the purchases uncovered by Reveal, an investigative reporting outlet, through court documents in a case over the issue settled in 2016.

Yes, but: The FTC may not choose to start an investigation based on the complaint.

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement that the company offers tools to parents and "also has safeguards in place regarding minors' purchases."

  • "In 2016, we updated our terms and now provide dedicated resources for refund requests related to purchases made by minors on Facebook, including special training for our reviewers," per the statement.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to include Facebook's statement.

Go deeper

Biden gets mixed grades on revolving door

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden is getting mixed marks for his reliance on industry insiders to staff his administration during its first 100 days.

Why it matters: Progressives have leaned on the new president to limit the revolving door between industry and government. A new report from the Revolving Door Project praises him on that front but highlights key hires it deems ethically questionable.

Exclusive: Sen. Coons sees new era of bipartisanship on China

Sen. Chris Coons. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 insurrection was a "shock to the system," propelling members of Congress toward the goal of shoring up America's ability to compete with China, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told Axios during an interview Thursday.

Why it matters: Competition between China's authoritarian model and the West's liberal democratic one is likely to define the 21st century. A bipartisan response would help the U.S. present a united front.

By the numbers: States weighing voting changes

Data: Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law; Cartogram: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Georgia is not alone in passing a law adding voting restrictions, but other states are seeing a surge in provisions and proposals that would expand access to the polls, according to data from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Driving the news: Just Wednesday, the New York State Assembly passed a bill to restore voting rights to convicted felons who have been released from prison.