Epic Games has just received a walloping from the US Federal Trade Commission in the form of two massive payout settlements for violating the privacy of its users and employing deceptive “dark pattern” tricks to dupe people into buying things they didn’t want.
The first settlement is a $275M fine for violating the FTC’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rule by collecting the personal data of children without adult consent and leaving text and voice chat open by default for children and teens. The government body holds that Epic used “privacy-invasive default settings and deceptive interfaces that tricked Fortnite users.” In addition, the game will now be required to adjust its default settings for users under the age of 13 unless given parental consent, which must be granted via a privacy setting.
On top of the fine, Epic has agreed to pay $245M to refund customers who were tricked into purchases through “counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration.” According to the FTC, Epic “ignored more than one million user complaints and repeated employee concerns that ‘huge’ numbers of users were being wrongfully charged.”
This isn’t the only recent legal action that Fortnite is facing: Epic is also staring down the barrel of a 2019 class-action lawsuit in Montreal, Canada, that claims the shooter is “knowingly created […] to be as addictive as possible.” The suit was recently given permission to move forward by a judge in the country.