The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged Epic Games with violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Epic Games has been found guilty of invading the privacy of children and teens without their consent or parental control.
The settings for real-time voice chat were being turned on by default irrespective of the age of the players, and negligence like this led to online bullying, hatred, and hateful speech against minors and teens, leaving them with serious traumatic experiences.
FTC has also charged Epic Games for collecting the data of children under 13 and teens without players’ knowledge due to the lack of proper privacy settings.
On another account, FTC blames Epic Games for charging players non willingly. Players were tricked into making unwanted transactions by pressing 2-3 buttons or previewing an item in the shop in Fortnite. As the FTC said:
Fortnite’s counterintuitive, inconsistent, and confusing button configuration led players to incur unwanted charges based on the press of a single button
The credit cardholders charged for these unwanted transactions also faced difficulties while processing refunds. Sometimes, Epic blocked the accounts of such players and restricted them from accessing the items they paid for. According to the FTC, Epic Games have ignored the complaints of over one million players who were charged wrongfully.
In response to these charges, Epic Games has taken full responsibility for all the allegations against the company by FTC.
No developer creates a game with the intention of ending up here… We accepted this agreement because we want Epic to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for our players.
Epic Games is now bound to a total of $520 million in two parts, $275 million is charged for violating the FTC’s policies to protect consumers online, and $245 million will be paid by Epic Games as a refund the players who were charged without their consent.
It is good that Epic Games have taken full responsibility for the charges made against it and have also vowed to continue the practices that will favor the consumers with more moderated and privacy-driven settings and policies.
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