The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charging Epic Games with a $520 million settlement for allegedly violating children’s privacy.
Epic Games, the maker of popular games like “Fortnite” and “Fall Guys,” allegedly violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by deploying “design tricks, known as dark patterns, to dupe millions of players into making unintentional purchases,” the FTC said in a press release.
The $520 million payment is divided into two settlements: the COPPA fine amounts to $275 million and $245 million to refund customers for what it calls “dark patterns and billing practices.”
The FTC also took issue with Epic’s live text and voice communication features, which were set to be turned on by default.
The FTC claims that children were exposed to harassment and abuse because of these features, especially since Epic had no way of making sure that children and adults would not be matched together in online play.
Epic Games has also been embroiled in a lawsuit with Apple, accusing the tech giant of anti-competitive behaviour.