FTC Fines Epic Games $520 Million for Children’s Privacy Violations and In-Game Purchase Dark Patterns in Fortnite

Sara Morrison, writing for Recode:

Epic Games, the maker of the very popular Fortnite series, is paying two of the largest settlements in Federal Trade Commission (FTC) history over children’s privacy violations and “dark patterns” that intentionally tricked users into making purchases through manipulative design.

The settlements, announced on Monday, require Epic to pay a total of $520 million for the two consumer protection issues: $275 million for the privacy violations and $245 million for making it easy for consumers to purchase items accidentally and very difficult for them to cancel or refund those purchases. That money will be refunded to consumers; it’s the largest refund amount in a gaming case as well as the largest administrative order in FTC history. The $275 million penalty is the largest ever for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA (the previous FTC record of $136 million was held by Google over YouTube videos aimed at children).

Epic indeed. Almost enough to make you think gaming platforms have a customer-focused interest in enforcing privacy rules and controlling in-game payments.

Monday, 19 December 2022