Epic Games will pay $520M+ to the FTC to settle Fortnite privacy issue

Epic Games has landed itself in some hot water with the FTC regarding the way Fortnite has violated COPPA’s rules and regulations. Today, we saw the FTC announce that the case has been settled through two record-setting settlements that will result in more than $500 million in fines. Yes, it’s about Fortnite.

According to the FTC, Epic violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting information from children under 13 who played Fortnite without verifiable consent from a parent. In some cases, the company has made parents “jump through hoops” just to delete their children’s data.

Because of this, Epic will have to pay a $275 million settlement for violating the COPPA rule. This fine tops the one Google received back in 2019 in which the tech giant had to pay a $170 million fine over accusations of harvesting data from children on YouTube. In addition, Epic will be required to “adopt strong default settings for privacy for children and teens, ensuring that voice and text communications are turned off by default.”

The second part of the change that Epic will have to push relates to another part of the FTC’s claims related to the Fortnite store and redemption systems. See, the FTC alleged that Epic deployed a variety of tactics to drive inadvertent purchases of virtual currency to obtain perks like in-game clothing and dance moves; These tactics eventually led to millions of dollars in unauthorized charges to consumers.

Now, Epic will have to pay $245 million to refund customers for its billing practices. Consumers who believe they have been unfairly charged for in-game purchases can go to a website set up by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to request a refund. The FTC plans to make refunds available even to the following users:

  • Parents whose children made an unauthorized credit card purchase on the Epic Games Store between January 2017 and November 2018
  • Fortnite players who were charged with in-game currency (V-Bucks) for unwanted in-game items (such as cosmetics, llamas, or battle passes) between January 2017 and September 2022
  • Fortnite players whose accounts were locked between January 2017 and September 2022 after disputing unauthorized charges with their credit card companies.
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However, keep in mind that claims processing will take some time. Meanwhile, Epic Games will not accept or deny any of the FTC’s allegations regarding the settlement. According to the company, they agreed to this agreement because they want Epic to be at the forefront of consumer protection and delivering the best experience for players.

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