Epic Games to pay $520 million penalty in USA over privacy violations and ‘dark patterns’ cases

The US Federal Trade Commission and the creator of Fortnite, Epic Games, have reached a settlement which would see the company pay a total of US$ 520 million in penalties over allegations that it had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and used dark patterns to trick players into making unintentional purchases.

For allegations related to collecting personal information from Fortnite players under the age of 13 without getting consent from their parents or caregivers, Epic has agreed to pay a US$ 275 million penalty. Furthermore, the FTC determined that Epic’s default settings for its live text and voice communication features, as well as its system of pairing children with adults/strangers to play Fortnite with, exposed youngsters to harassment and abuse. Epic is also required to adopt strong privacy default settings for children and teens, ensuring that voice and text communications are turned off by default.

In a second case, the business conceded to pay US$ 245 million to refund users for its dark patterns and billing practices.