Epic Games Agrees to Pay Massive $520 Million Fine in FTC Settlement

Hold on to your pickaxes, Fortnite fans, because things are about to get wild. Epic Games, the developer and publisher of the popular video game Fortnite, has agreed to pay $520 million in fines to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over of violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). 

But what did they do to deserve such a hefty fine, you might ask?

The FTC alleged that Epic had paired children and teens with strangers, exposing them to potentially dangerous or traumatizing content, and failed to implement adequate parental controls. The settlement includes a $245 million fine against Fortnite's in-game store and refund systems, as well as a $275 million fine to address child privacy concerns.

The FTC also argued that Epic deliberately marketed to children through celebrity and brand partnerships, despite failing to address COPPA violations. The agency claimed that Epic's attempts to address harassment on the platform were "weak-willed," and that it took the company two years after the launch of Fortnite to introduce parental controls to the game. Internal reports cited by the FTC also indicated that certain features of the game, such as voice chat, posed a risk for negative social behavior.

The $520 million fine is a significant punishment, even by the standards of the FTC, which has previously ordered companies such as Facebook to pay billions of dollars in fines. However, Epic has stated that they accepted the settlement in order to be at the forefront of consumer protection and provide the best experience for their players.

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