Fortnite developer Epic Games has agreed to pay $520 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in several ways. . The FTC claims that Epic illegally collected personal information from Fortnite players under the age of 13 without parental consent, enabled voice and text chat by default, and caused teenagers face “dangerous and traumatic problems such as suicide”.
Epic Games, the creator of the video game Fortnite, must pay a total of $520 million to the FTC charges. Epic violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and deployed dark models to trick millions of players into making unintentional purchases: https://t.co/yHaQx8VXlu
– FTC (@FTC) December 19, 2022
Like The Wall Street Journal reported, $275 million of that total in civil penalties for COPPA violations, the largest sum in the history of the law. The remaining $245 million in consumer refunds stemmed from Epic’s alleged use of a “dark model,” an emerging term for the tactics online services use to induce fraud. difficulty or inconvenience when unsubscribing. Epic does not have to admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
In a statement, Epic Games said that it accepted the terms of the agreement out of a desire to be “at the forefront of consumer protection”. FTC President Lina Khan issued her own statement: “These enforcement actions make it clear to businesses that the FTC is cracking down on these unlawful practices,” it wrote in part.
Epic recently took steps to address some of these alleged issues, including introducing a new protected account for players under the age of 13 who cannot use chat or purchase items without prior consent. permission of a parent or guardian. The FTC made bigger moves in the gaming world late in the year, most notably suing to block the proposal. Microsoft-Activision Blizzard merger due to anticompetitive concerns. That process is still ongoing.
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