Fortnite players will now be able to report other players for abuse using audio recordings.
Announced Thursday, Epic Games is introducing voice reports to the Battle Royale game in an effort to reduce harassment, bullying, intimidation and predatory players on the platform.
“In addition to being able to block, mute, and report other players, you’ll be able to submit audio evidence when reporting suspected violations of our community rules,” reads a blog post from Fortnite team.
Voice reporting will only work if enabled. Fortnite records the last five minutes of voice chat audio, then automatically deletes it, meaning “only the immediate last five minutes of audio can be reported.” Once uploaded, your anonymous report will be sent to Epic’s moderators for review, then deleted after 14 days or the duration of the sanction (or if Epic needs to keep the clip “to comply with legal obligations”).
The ‘real’ metauniverse already exists and it’s called ‘Fortnite’
Epic explained that voice chat audio is “securely captured on your device… not on Epic Games’ servers,” while ensuring the company can’t access voice chat audio unless you turn on voice reporting and submit a report .
So how does Epic Games make sure that the reported audio is actually from someone in the voice chat? The company explained the whole process in another blog post and how it uses public-key cryptography — two keys, one public, one private, are generated that authenticate identity, including the player’s Epic account, and encrypt data that can only be decrypted with the other .
“To achieve this, we use public key cryptography to generate digital signatures so that voice packets can be attributed to the correct participant. Packets are signed by the participant’s private key, and all other users can verify them using the sender’s public key, preventing players from tampering with the system.”
Specifically, voice reporting is always on for voice chats that involve players under the age of 18, and players who do not wish their audio to be recorded should mute themselves or turn off voice chat entirely by tapping “Off” in voice chat settings.
This is especially interesting considering that last December Epic Games was forced by the Federal Trade Commission to pay a total of $520 million over allegations that the company used “dark patterns” to get players to buy things unwittingly, and besides it allegedly violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting data without parental consent. At the time, the FTC said that “Epic will have to adopt strong default privacy settings for children and teens, ensuring that voice and text communications are turned off by default.” So I’m not sure what happened there.
If you want to turn on voice reporting and you’re over 18, here’s how to do it.
How to turn on Fortnite voice reporting
Epic Games Account
Step 1: Load Fortnite and open Settings.
Credit: Epic Games
Step 2: Click on “Audio”, then click on “Voice Reporting”.
Step 3: Select “Always On” or “Off When Possible”.
Step 4: If you select “Always On”, voice reporting will be enabled for your channels.
If you select “Off when possible”, voice reporting will remain off in party channels where everyone also has this setting (but not in game channels). However, if only one player has “Always On”, voice reporting will be included in a party channel.