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Epic Games pays $520 million for failing to protect children enough in Fortnite


Epic Games was sued by US antitrust for illegally collecting data from children. It must also reimburse wronged consumers.

It's a heavy condemnation for the creator of the hit


video game .

Pursued in the United States by the antitrust authorities, the publisher Epic Games has agreed to pay a fine of more than half a billion dollars to end legal proceedings.

This agreement is accompanied by the obligation to modify several functionalities within this free and very popular game among children.


Epic used privacy-invasive default settings and deceptive interfaces that misled Fortnite users, including teenagers and children

," said Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Lina Khan. in a press release.

The protection of the public, and in particular children, is a top priority for the Commission.


Epic Games was sued in two separate cases.

He will have to pay 275 million dollars - "

the largest fine imposed for non-compliance with the rules of the Federal Trade Commission

" - for having collected personal data from children under 13 without having sought to obtain the consent of their parents, which is against US law.

Families who wanted to have this data erased also had to deal with a complex procedure.

Children's microphones muted by default

The FTC also criticized Epic Games for not sufficiently protecting children in its online game.

By default, their mics are open so they can chat with other connected players, who may be adults.

Fortnite does not in fact make sure to group players of the same age.

Children and teenagers have been bullied, threatened, harassed and exposed to dangerous and psychologically traumatic problems, such as suicide, while on Fortnite

,” recalls the FTC.

According to the American antitrust, employees of Epic Games were moved by the risks presented for these young players, who can also be the target of sexual predators.

But the company has long refused to act, before adding a button to mute voice chat, which is "

hard to find

", according to the FTC.

As part of this amicable settlement, Epic Games will have to cut the microphone of players under 18 by default, as well as chat tools.

Communications will only be reopened if the publisher obtains consent from parents of players under 13, or from players aged 14-17.

A tricky interface

In another case, Epic Games will have to pay $245 million, a sum that will feed a compensation fund for consumers harmed by its tricky business practices between January 2017 and November 2018. “

The counter-intuitive, inconsistent and confusing configuration Fortnite buttons has led players to unintentionally purchase items by pressing a single button

, ”recalls the FTC.

For example, players could be charged when trying to wake the game from sleep mode.



also let children shop with their parents' credit card until 2018, without implementing any security measures.

Families who asked their bank to block transactions from the game saw their player accounts locked.

Even when Epic agreed to unblock an account, consumers were warned that they risked being banned for life if they disputed any billing again

,” recalls the FTC.

As part of this agreement, Epic Games will have to obtain the player's agreement before debiting his bank account.

He also no longer has the right to sanction players who contest the levies.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-12-19

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