What Are Dark Patterns?
An increase in the cases of “Dark Patterns” or “Deceptive Patterns” have been noted where internet-based companies have been tricking users into agreeing to certain conditions or clicking a few links.
- Such acceptances and clicks are flooding inboxes of the users with promotional emails they never wanted, making it hard to unsubscribe or request deletion.
- Dark Patterns are unethical UI/UX (user interface/user experience) interactions, designed to mislead or trick users to make them do something they don’t want to do.
- In turn, they benefit the company or platform employing the designs.
- By using dark patterns, digital platforms take away a user’s right to full information about the services they are using and their control over their browsing experience.
- Examples of Dark Patterns include “baseless” countdowns for online deals, conditions in fine print that add on to costs, making cancellation buttons hard to see or click, making ads appear as news reports or celebrity endorsements, auto-playing videos, forcing users to create accounts to finish a transaction, silently charging credit cards after free trials end, and using dull colours to hide information that users should know about.
- Social media companies and Big Tech firms such as Apple, Amazon, Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Google use dark or deceptive patterns to downgrade the user experience to their advantage.
- Another dark pattern on social media platforms like Instagram is sponsored video ads getting scattered between reels and stories users originally opted to view, tricking them for several seconds before they can see the small “sponsored” label.
- Google-owned YouTube nags users to sign up for YouTube Premium with pop-ups, obscuring final seconds of a video with thumbnails of other videos.