General Mills is coming under fire by nearly 20 children’s advocacy, health and public interest groups for violating a federal law to protect children's privacy, the New York Times reports. The coalition claims five well-known companies, including the Golden Valley-based cereal maker, are encouraging kids, who play games or use other features on their websites, to provide email addresses of their friends without seeking parental consent.
Two sites operated by General Mills, TrixWorld.com and ReesesPuffs.com, are among six cited by the advocacy groups in a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. Sites by McDonald's, Nickelodeon and Subway are also included.
A General Mills spokesperson said the company follows approved practices. Other defenders said that the law includes an exception for one-time "tell-a-friend" marketing.