Epic Fine for Epic Games as Company Agrees to Pay $520 Million to Settle Privacy Claims

Epic Games, the company behind the popular “Fortnite” video game,  agreed to pay $520 million to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allegations that it violated online privacy protections for children and tricked players into making unintended purchases.

The settlement includes two record-breaking amounts: a $275 million civil penalty for alleged Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violations, the largest penalty ever in the FTC’s enforcement of the privacy law. It also included $245 million in consumer refunds, the largest settlement regarding the use of so-called “dark patterns,” which are tactics that trick customers into paying for goods or services and make it difficult to cancel them.

The allegations against Epic included collecting personal information from “Fortnite” players under 13 without notifying their parents or obtaining parental consent, enabling real-time voice and text chat for children and teens in the game by default and exposing them to risk by connecting them with strangers,, using tactics to drive unintended purchases of virtual currency, obscuring cancel and refund features, and locking the accounts of customers who disputed unauthorized charges.

The FTC also claimed that Epic intentionally obscured cancel and refund features to make them more challenging to find and that the company locked the accounts of customers who disputed charges.

Epic Games is a privately held company that includes investors that are publicly traded, including Sony Group (US:SONY), (JP:8439) and Tencent Holdings (HK:0700US:TCHEY).

As part of the settlement, Epic must make changes to “Fortnite” to protect users, establish a privacy program addressing the issues raised in the complaints and undergo regular, independent audits. Consumers who believe they were unfairly charged may seek refunds through a website set up by the FTC.

This article originally appeared on Fintel

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