Epic Games Issued $245 Milllion USD Fine for “Dark Patterns” On Fortnite
The United States Federal Trade Commission has officially finalized an order requiring Epic Games to pay $245 million USD to settle charges with Fortnite players. The FTC accuses Epic of deploying a number of design tricks known as “dark patterns” which bamboozled players into making unwanted purchases and allowing children to easily make unauthorized charges without parental consent.
After five comments, the Commission voted 4-0 to approve the complaint which will also see Epic pay an additional $275 million USD penalty to settle allegations of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule.
“As our complaints note, Epic used privacy-invasive default settings and deceptive interfaces that tricked Fortnite users, including teenagers and children,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “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.”
Specifics of the violations cited by the FTC include Epic’s use of a “counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration” leading to unwanted charges from a press of a single button as well as its acts of retaliation, including locking customers who raised disputes with their credit card companies out of their accounts.
Consumers who made purchases on Fortnite between 2017 and 2022 may be eligible for a refund. More information can be found here.
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