Fortnite creator Epic Games has been fined $775 million for enticing children to make online purchases

Epic Games, makers of the blockbuster video game Fortnite, on Monday agreed to pay $775 million ($520 million) to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The company admitted to violating children’s privacy laws and tricking minors and adults into making unintentional online purchases.

The FTC said the comparisons from one of the biggest names in video games set records, blaming Epic for knowingly targeting Fortnite players under the age of 13 and exposing children to harassment and trauma in chat rooms.

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In its complaint, the FTC said Epic was aware that many children were playing Fortnite and collected their information without parental consent, as required by US law.

“Even when Epic became aware that certain Fortnite players were under the age of 13, Epic took no steps to comply with (US law),” the FTC complaint reads.

The FTC also accused Epic of setting online chat defaults that allowed children and teens to play with strangers and exposed them to potential harassment.

“Children and youth have been subjected to bullying, threats, harassment and dangerous and psychologically traumatizing issues such as suicide during Fortnite,” the FTC said.

For these violations, Epic agreed to pay $275 million and is now prohibited from enabling chats unless parents of users under the age of 13 or teenage users give their direct consent.

In a separate complaint, Epic was accused of engaging in so-called dark patterns, the practice of tricking users into making unwanted purchases or opting into certain settings without their knowledge.

Among other things, the FTC said that Epic “allows children to file tortious charges without parental involvement.”

The commission also claimed that Epic intentionally made refund or cancellation requests difficult to complete and penalized users who questioned payments.

The commission said the company agreed to pay $245 million in consumer refunds to resolve the complaint.

In a statement, Epic said that “no developer makes 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,” it added.

Epic said it has made changes since the breaches to “meet the expectations of our players and regulators” and that the practices referenced in the FTC’s complaints are not consistent with how Fortnite is currently operating

Originally released as “Fortnite,” creator Epic Games has been fined $775 million for tricking kids

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