Epic Games, creator of popular video game “Fortnite,” reached an agreement with the FTC to pay $520 million in fines and refunds over allegations the company violated a children’s privacy law and “dupe[d] millions of players into making unintentional purchases,” the agency said.
Epic reached two separate settlements with the Federal Trade Commission, both of which are for record-setting amounts. The games company will pay $275 million to the FTC over allegations the company violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In addition, Epic will pay $245 million to refund consumers for its practice of “trick[ing] players into making unwanted purchases,” the FTC said.
“Epic used privacy-invasive default settings and deceptive interfaces that tricked ‘Fortnite’ users, including teenagers and children,” FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said in announcing the settlement. “Protecting the public, and especially children, from online privacy invasions and dark patterns is a top priority for the commission, and these enforcement actions make clear to businesses that the FTC is cracking down on these unlawful practices.”
As part of its statement about the FTC settlement, Epic said, “No developer creates a game with the intention of ending up here. The video game industry is a place of fast-moving innovation, where player expectations are high and new ideas are paramount. Statutes written decades ago don’t specify how gaming ecosystems should operate. The laws have not changed, but their application has evolved and long-standing industry practices are no longer enough. We accepted this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players.”
More to come.
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