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Roblox ads come under fire from the Children’s Advertising Review Unit

The platform was found to have breached the industry watchdog’s guidelines
Roblox ads come under fire from the Children’s Advertising Review Unit

Roblox has come under criticism from the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) for breaching the group’s guidelines, reports the Wall Street Journal.

CARU, a division of business organisation BBB National Programs, found that Roblox failed to adequately inform young users below the age of thirteen that certain content was advertising. Additionally, the group failed to ensure that influencers paid to promote the platform on social media properly labelled their content, misleading consumers who may be unaware that the posts amounted to paid advertising.

“Companies who are creating these platforms have decisions to make as to how they want to monetize their platform,” said BBB National Programs senior vice president of privacy initiatives Dona Fraser. “If they want to have advertisements and they want to be directed to children, our guidelines are laid out very clearly.”

Ethical advertising

This isn’t the first time that Roblox has come under scrutiny for its advertising policies, with the company announcing a new set of policies in March this year with the aim of stopping children below 13 from seeing ads. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a spokeswoman for the company stated that Roblox already prevents children from seeing ads directly, and that the new policies, effective from June 15, will largely address CARU’s complaints.

In a statement, the company said, “We are disappointed with the CARU decision and attempts to correct factual inaccuracies were not considered. Roblox has robust policies and procedures that far exceed its legal obligations in order to create a safe environment for all users.”

Roblox has quickly emerged to be one of the biggest players in the emerging metaverse, reporting 66.1 million daily active users in the first quarter of 2023, 43% of whom were below the age of thirteen. With massive brands such as H&M, Gucci, and Nike establishing presences on the platform, it’s clear that Roblox has earned their attention of brands as a potential to gain new customers. The question, at least for now, is whether these new moves will do enough to convince CARU that it’s doing enough to address any concerns, or whether CARU will refer the case to the Federal Trade Commission for possible enforcement action.

We listed Roblox as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.