Dark Patterns are attempts by advertisers and content designers to manipulate consumers into taking actions that companies desire (like purchasing something) while making it difficult or confusing to take actions companies don’t want (such as canceling an account or opting out). Here are some resources to help you learn more about these deceptive practices. More can be found at DarkPatterns.org.

“How to Spot Manipulative ‘Dark Patterns’ Online”

Here’s an excerpt from the Consumer Reports article by Thomas Germain from 30 Jan 2019:

“Hard-to-find settings and confusing language can lead you to buy, share, or receive more than you want. This guide can help. … Privacy experts call design elements such as hard-to-find buttons and confusing menus “dark patterns” when they seem to manipulate consumers unfairly. … Consumer Reports and some other advocacy organizations have called for government rules to limit manipulative design, while industry groups warn that increased regulation could stifle innovation. … Learning to recognize different types of dark patterns can help you navigate the web and mobile apps more smoothly, spotting settings and boxes that deserve a closer look. This can be as easy as learning that an “unsubscribe” email link is often found in small, faint type at the bottom of a screen. But it’s not always so simple.” [More…]

How Dark Patterns Trick You Online by Evan Puschak (28 Mar 2018)

This video provides a visual guide to some examples of Dark Patterns used in a variety of ways.