FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20580
In the Matter of Request for Investigation of Nickelodeon’sand PlayFirst’s SpongeBob Diner DashMobile Application
The Center for Digital Democracy (“CDD”), by its attorneys, the Institute for Public Representation (“IPR”), asks the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) toinvestigate and bring an action against Nickelodeon and PlayFirst for deceptivemarketing of the SpongeBob Diner Dash game and for violating the Children’s OnlinePrivacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). Nickelodeon and PlayFirst represent that SpongeBobDiner Dash collects personal data from users “in accordance with applicable law, such asCOPPA,” when in fact the app neither provides the type of notice required by COPPA,nor makes any attempt to obtain prior, verifiable parental consent required by COPPA.
Nickelodeon launched SpongeBob Diner Dash in May 2012, the pressrelease announced that “Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, has joined forces with PlayFirst, the leading full-service publisher of casual games, to launcha new, downloadable SpongeBob SquarePants(TM) Diner Dash(TM) game.” PaulJelinek, vice president, Digital Media Products, Nickelodeon Networks, stated that“Joining one of the top properties for kids—SpongeBob SquarePants—with one of thetop casual games in the market—Diner Dash—is a significant step in the expansion of Nickelodeon's casual gaming business.” He added that “PlayFirst has demonstrated thatthey understand how to tap the exploding mass market interest in interactive