Epic Games has been fined $520 million over allegations of child privacy and microtransactions violations in Fortnite from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The two civil complaints alleged the developer collected data from player profiles that belonged to children under the age of 13, as well as causing players to make unintended purchases.
The FTC fined Epic Games for Fortnite US law violations
The $520 million settlement covered two different lawsuits from the FTC, according to The Wall Street Journal. The first said that Epic had violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting personal data from Fortnite accounts belonging to children under 13 without the consent of parents. There were also concerns over the game’s default voice and text chat communications that allowed children to communicate with adult strangers and left them at risk of bullying, threats, and harassment. For these allegations, to which Epic hasn’t admitted anything, the company was fined $275 million.
The remaining $245 million fine was for apparently using “dark patterns”, which are tactics used to trap customers into paying for goods and services and then making it very difficult to cancel those purchases. These dark patterns included inconsistent button configurations, obscured cancel and refund features, and locked accounts for those who disputed card charges.
The findings require Epic to make changes to Fortnite to further protect their users and may be the reason for measures like the recently introduced Cabined accounts for players under the age of 13.