Dec 20, 2022
Fortnite Maker Epic Games to Pay $520M to Settle FTC Cases Trancript
Epic Games has agreed to pay a fine to the government for collecting children’s personal data and information without obtaining consent from a parent or guardian. Read the transcript here.
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DeJuan Hoggard (00:01):
Well, Joel, right behind me here is the headquarters for Epic Games. They are the creator of that popular game, Fortnite. And tonight they are in hot water after being on the receiving end of the largest FTC violation ever.
The news sending shockwaves throughout the gaming industry. Fortnite maker Epic Games to pay $520 million to settle FTC cases. The news comes as the FTC levies the largest penalty ever for violating an FTC rule. That rule is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. The FTC alleging the following, that Epic Games violated COPPA by failing to notify parents and receive consent for purchases, had default voice and text settings that were considered harmful to children and teens where other users subject kids and teens to harmful and offensive language, used dark patterns to trick users into making purchases, and charged account holders without authorization.
That move forcing Epic Games to agree to refund customers $245 million in dark patterns and billing practices, the largest refund amount in a gaming case. Some $275 million will be paid directly to the FTC for violating COPPA, which the FTC will dole out at its discretion. As early as 2017, the FTC says Epic employees even raised the red flag about the voice text capability, but the changes the company made did not go far enough. CEO, Tim Sweeney, responding to the statement saying, “No developer creates a game with the intention of ending up here. Statutes written decades ago don’t specify how gaming ecosystems should operate.”
And FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson, she also had some comments to say on the matter with respect to this ruling. She cited at least three separate examples where young children, kids weren’t being protected on the Epic Games platform that was made available to them. Now Epic games, they said they will issue refund tickets to the affected users, and the FTC will issue out refunds at its own discretion. Live in Cary tonight. DeJuan Hoggard, ABC11 Eyewitness News.