The colorful SpongeBob Diner Dash game targeting kids and adults alike has been pulled from the iTunes App Store because it collected email addresses for targeted ads.
While ad targeting isn’t an illegal action, collecting users’ email addresses may be frowned upon if the users in question are aged 13 and under.
As noted above, the SpongeBob Diner Dash app collected players’ email addresses for promo offers and targeted ads, but according to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), web site operators targeting children under 13 years of age must obtain the parents’ permission to snag their information.
SpongeBob Diner Dash is not specifically geared towards a young audience, though its cartoonish graphics indeed make it a kiddy-centric game more than a title for adults.
Which is why the debate is still on whether or not the app should be allowed back in the App Store unchanged. Currently, SpongeBob Diner Dash is unavailable for download.