FTC Orders Epic Games To Play $520M In Privacy Violation Settlement

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced they have settled with Epic Games over Privacy Violations and Unwanted Charges. According to the statement released today, the FTC went after the company after it violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), alleging that the company "deployed design tricks, known as dark patterns, to dupe millions of players into making unintentional purchases." As part of the settlement, Epic Games has agreed to pay a $275 million penalty for violating children's privacy law and changing default privacy settings, and will pay an additional $245 million in refunds for "tricking users into making unwanted charges."

With a grand total of $520m to pay, this is the largest fine of its kind levied against a video game company. In response to this situation, the Fortnite creator started making "Cabined Accounts," where after you enter your birthdate, it will make a special account for underaged players so they are unable to make such purchases. Here are a few quotes from the FTC's announcement this morning.

UPDATE: Epic Games issued its own statement on the FTC settlement, which you can read on its website.

FTC Orders Epic Games To Play $520M In Privacy Violation Settlement
Credit: Epic Games

"As our complaints note, Epic used privacy-invasive default settings and deceptive interfaces that tricked Fortnite users, including teenagers and children," said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. "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."

"The Justice Department takes very seriously its mission to protect consumers' data privacy rights," said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. "This proposed order sends a message to all online providers that collecting children's personal information without parental consent will not be tolerated."

"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," said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "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."

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Gavin SheehanAbout Gavin Sheehan

Gavin is the current Games Editor for Bleeding Cool. He has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.
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