FTC Fines Epic Games $520 Million: What You Need to Know

If your website, app or game targets kids (or sort of targets kids) and you haven’t been taking your obligations under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 seriously, then maybe this will be the wake-up call you needed.

The Federal Trade Commission has fined Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, a total of $520 million. Of that, $275 million are for COPPA violations (the largest COPPA fine ever) and $245 million are for dark patterns.

“Epic put children and teens at risk through its lax privacy practices, and cost consumers millions in illegal charges through its use of dark patterns,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Under the proposed orders announced today, the company will be required to change its default settings, return millions to consumers, and pay a record-breaking penalty for its privacy abuses.

Key takeaways:

COPPA Privacy

A. Figure out whether you target your service at kids:

This includes being aware than many kids are using your service, as shown through surveys of users, licensing and marketing of merchandise, player support and other company communications. Consider also actual knowledge of the ages of your users. Internal communications were reviewed with statements like: “a large portion of our player base” consists of “underage kids,” acknowledged Fortnite’s “high penetration among tweens/teens,” flagged “that Fortnite is enjoyed by a very young audience at home and abroad,” and described putting on Fortnite “dance cam,” “makeup booth (for kids),” and other events at public

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