The FTC Has Ordered Epic Games To Pay A Record-Breaking Fine

Epic Games, the developer and publisher of Fortnite, has been ordered by the FTC to pay a massive fine for its practices.

By LCLupus, Posted 19 Dec 2022

The Federal Trade Commission has fined Epic Games, the developer and publisher responsible for Fortnite, for a record-breaking amount of money. Epic Games has been fined more than half a billion dollars in two parts: $275m for violating COPPA and $245m in refunds for “tricking users into making unwanted charges.”


Fortnite, Epic Games, FTC, Federal Trade Commission, Dark Patterns, COPPA, Latest, News
 

This news was announced on the Federal Trade Commission’s site along with a breakdown of what Epic Games was found guilty of according to the regulator. The first major issue is that Epic Games was alleged to have violated COPPA, or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, because of the company’s lax privacy practices and its lack of notifications to parents. An aspect of this half of the overall fine is that Epic Games has been ordered to alter the default settings for children and teens in Fortnite. From now on, all voice and text communication must be switched off by default. This means that young people will need to opt-in to communication from other players.

Secondly, Epic Games has been accused of using illegal dark patterns that trick users into making purchases, charging credit card accounts without authorization and thereby racking up massive expenses for parents, and the company also blocked access to purchased content when said consumers disputed the use of unauthorized charges. Essentially, Epic Games didn’t tell parents that charges were being made and when those same parents contacted Epic Games, the company locked them out of their purchases.

The Federal Trade Commission, as part of this second aspect, has mandated that money be refunded to those who had their money taken without authorization. So, this may put a bit of a dent in Fortnite’s ability to make money like it used to, but that has yet to be seen.

When discussing this ruling, Samuel Levine, the Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated: “Epic put children and teens at risk through its lax privacy practices, and cost consumers millions in illegal charges through its use of dark patterns. Under the proposed orders announced today, the company will be required to change its default settings, return millions to consumers, and pay a record-breaking penalty for its privacy abuses.”
 

Justin van Huyssteen (@LC_Lupus)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Fortnite

50/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): Epic Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Darren Sugg, Epic Games, People Can Fly
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Survival
Release Date: 2017-07-21

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