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Did you just read about the FTC’s settlement with Epic Games related to in-game charges in Fortnite resulting in $245 million in refunds for some parents and players? Well, there’s a Part 2: the FTC has reached another settlement with Epic about its handling of privacy for kids and teens who played Fortnite.

When playing Fortnite, you might get matched up with other players to battle it out until there’s just one player or team left. Those players include kids and teens who make up a big part of the hundreds of millions of people who play Fortnite. And it also includes adults — anyone really.

What’s the problem? The FTC says the game’s default settings were not private — voice and text chat were automatically on, and turning that off was not easy. That meant players’ voices, including kids and teens, were automatically broadcast to friends and strangers alike. That also meant anyone who saw your kid’s display name, which was also automatically public, could send a friend request. So strangers could play with — and potentially talk and chat with — them again. This, says the FTC, resulted in kids being bullied, threatened, and harassed, including sexually, through Fortnite. For two years, Epic also didn’t get parents’ permission to collect information from their kids under 13 — something required by the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act.

To settle the FTC’s charges, Epic has agreed to change its default settings for kids and teens from public to private, so it blocks open voice and text chat by default. Epic will also put a privacy program in place and pay a $275 million penalty to the U.S. Treasury. (While there won’t be refunds under this settlement, you might be eligible for money back if you were unfairly charged. Learn more at ftc.gov/fortnite.)

If you’re a parent, new games are almost certainly in your future this holiday season. Before your kids or teens start playing:

  • Know that usernames might be public. Talk about usernames. The best ones won’t include a user’s real name or other personal details about them.
  • Check the privacy settings in the game.  If the settings are hard to find or hard to make changes to, tell the FTC.

If you think a company is breaking the rules when it comes to you or your kids’ or teens’ privacy, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Sally
January 11, 2023

These gamings need be taken off of market, They are killing our children, they bully our children, they make our children weak. It is an addiction, a mental addiction. they beg borrow steal to play these games. Do something to make these things go away.

joshua simcox
January 11, 2023

hi i want a refund please

Phillis M Robinson
January 11, 2023

Yes I was a victim of this process. When asked after making a purchase I even selected to not save my information and they saved it anyway and made withdrawals on several occasions. I reported it several time before having to cancel my cards

Phillis M Robinson
January 12, 2023

Yes I was a victim of this process. When asked after making a purchase I even selected to not save my information and they saved it anyway and made withdrawals on several occasions. I reported it several time before having to cancel my cards

Xaris
January 18, 2023

Hi i am a victim of this situation and i want a refund.

Brittany
January 23, 2023

Want to sign up unable to