MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — General Mills is under investigation for the way it markets to children online.

According to a New York Times report, several advocacy groups say the company’s marketing violates a federal law protecting children’s privacy. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires web sites to get consent from parents before collecting personal information about children under age 13.

In complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, the coalition says a handful of web sites aimed at children urge them to list their friends’ e-mail addresses without consent, according the report.

The web sites include ReesesPuffs.com, Subway Kids.com and TrixWorld.com. In an E-mail, a spokesperson for General Mills refutes the claims, telling the Times that the company follows approved practices.

An official complaint is expected to be filed with the FTC on Wednesday.


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