Epic Games, the developer of the game Fortnite received a fine of $500 million from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), for breaking children's privacy law.
The American federal organization responsible for consumer protection accuses the company of using tricks to induce millions of players, the majority of whom are children, "to make unintentional purchases."
Epic Games violated the law that imposes limits on online platforms in terms of services offered to children under the age of 13. Epic Games has to pay now a $275 million fine and must give back $245 million to the customers who were affected.
The FTC claims that the Fortnite video game "infringes on user privacy" due to default settings and has a misleading user interface. According to the federal organization, many children spent hundreds of dollars on the game before their parents noticed what was going on.
Furthermore, Epic Games will have to disable voice and chat services by default for Fortnite players under the age of 13 and only permit activation with parental permission. Also, the company will have to delete all the data illegally collected from child users.
This case will undoubtedly serve as a model for future legal actions against the firm in Canada. In the Canadian province of Quebec, a class action lawsuit has been brought against Epic Games.
Several parents claim that the Fortnite game was designed to make children addicted to it. The initiators of the process say that, because of the game, the little ones no longer sleep, wash or eat.
Around 83 million individuals play Fortnite at least once a month, according to Business of Apps. The game brought in $5.8 billion for Epic Games in 2021.
“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”, affirmed the FTC chairwoman Lina M. Khan.
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Last updated: December 22, 2022