12 Year Old Smokes £900 On Zynga's Farmville

Facebook's most popular game, Farmville, turned to Farm Vile as a 12-year old child spent nearly £300 of his own savings to purchase the game's own virtual currency before using his mother's credit card to add another £600 worth of expenses.

Farmville is similar to the Sim city series of simulation games except that it works only on Facebook for now and has managed to attract more than 80 million users worldwide, all of them vying to become virtual farmers (hence the name).

They therefore spend time and sometimes money growing virtual food and can even generate (virtual) revenue from crops that can be sold online. The Facebook account of the British teenager has been suspended as has been his Zynga account.

The company has already declined to refund anything and the credit card company has said that the mother would get the money back only if she reported her son as a thief, which arguably won't happen.

According to the Guardian, the mother said that all three parties involved - HSBC, Facebook and Zynga - should have more stringent control on how the transaction is being processed.

Zynga, the company behind the game, has just attracted a valuation of as much as $5 billion according to SecondShares.com and given how easy the young chap managed to spend his money that wasn't his own, it is not difficult to see how Zynga could manage to generate as much as $1.6 billion annually within five years.

Our Comments

We were flabbergasted to learn about the valuation of Zynga which is roughly 25 percent of Facebook itself. $5 billion is even higher than Twitter and it would be interesting to see whether Facebook will sooner or later either buy the company or come up with an alternative.

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