February 6, 2023

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Fortnite has been fined a staggering $520 million for a video game that drove minors into antisocial behaviour [video]

Fortnite has been fined a staggering $520 million for a video game that drove minors into antisocial behaviour [video]

Visitors play FortNite online during the annual G-Star Games Global Trade Show at BEXCO Exhibition Center in Busan, South Korea, November 15, 2018 (Re-released August 18, 2020). EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN ***Local Caption*** 54775528

Epic Games developer and publisher of the popular video game Fortnite, It will pay fines of $520 million to settle it with the US authorities, specifically the Federal Trade Commission (Federal Trade Commission) for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The FTC alleged that Epic brought children and teens to “strangers”, subjected them to “dangerous situations and psychological trauma” and did not provide adequate parental control systems.

“Protecting the public, especially children, from invasions of online privacy and dark patterns is the commission’s top priority, and these enforcement actions demonstrate to businesses that the FTC responds rigorously to these illegal practices,” said FTC Chair Lena Khan. . Declaration.

Epic will pay two fines, including a $245 million fine for the Fortnite store and refund systems, and another $275 million fine for addressing children’s privacy concerns.

The first settlement is a violation of federal antitrust law protect children’s online privacy, Since the Company collects personal information on young players who are not yet 13 years old, without informing the parents and obtaining their consent.

For him, Epic Games will pay damages $275 million For families who have seen their children still glued to their computer screens for more than 12 hours a dayor sobbing when their parents took them away from the computer.

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Second height adjustment $245 million It engages, according to the Federal Trade Commission, “dark patterns” intended to “deceive” players They buy “franchises” that didn’t actually offer anything. users who are potentially under the age of 13 have not had parental consent to charge their credit cards.

At the heart of the settlement was the FTC’s argument that Epic made deliberate decisions to target children through its “music, celebrity, and brand partnerships,” which included deals with Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, and a wide range of themed merchandise. Fortnite.

Despite the deliberate decision to market to children, the FTC said Epic failed to “cure” or remedy the violations. The Federal Trade Commission called Epic’s efforts to address the issue of harassment on the platform “weak”, noting that it took two years after launch for “Epic to finally bring parental controls into the game”.

Epic allegedly failed to make decisions that would protect children and meet federal regulations, despite research showing that some features, including voice chat, pose a “risk in terms of negative social behavior,” according to internal reports from Epic cited by the Commerce Commission. federal.

“All the time, children are being bullied, threatened, and harassed, including sexually, through Fortnite,” the FTC complaint said.

The settlement is substantial, even by Federal Trade Commission standards, but it doesn’t come close to the $5 billion fine that Meta, formerly Facebook, incurred in 2019.

Still, it’s a huge blow to a company that generated $5.5 billion in revenue between 2018 and 2019, according to court documents reviewed by The Verge.

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“Of course, in order for parental controls to be enabled, parents must first know that they are there,” the FTC complaint noted. It wasn’t until 2019, “long after Epic obtained beta data showing a large number of Fortnite players” under the age of 13, that Epic introduced an age verification system.

“The laws haven’t changed, but enforcement has evolved and long-standing industry practices are no longer enough. We accepted this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of protecting consumers and delivering the best experience for our players.”

with information from cnbc.com
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