Govt identifies 9 ‘dark patterns’ on online platforms
ContextThe government has identified nine ‘dark patterns’, or tactics used by online platforms to manipulate consumers. The Centre has asked e-commerce companies to not use “dark patterns” on their platforms that may deceive customers or manipulate their choices. What are dark patterns?
- Dark patterns, also known as deceptive patterns, is the term used to describe the ways in which websites or apps make their users do things that the users do not intend to do or would not otherwise do, as well as to discourage user behaviour that is not beneficial for the companies.
- Some patterns include
- creating a false sense of urgency
- adding products to the cart without consent
- forcing users to sign-up to access content
- confirm shaming
- hidden costs and nagging
- The term dark patterns was coined by Harry Brignull, a London-based user experience (UX) designer, in
|Examples of dark patterns
- False urgency: Creates a sense of urgency or scarcity to pressure consumers into making a purchase or taking an action.
- Basket sneaking: Dark patterns are used to add additional products or services to the shopping cart without the user’s consent.
- Confirm shaming: Uses guilt to make consumers adhere; criticises or attacks consumers for not conforming to a particular belief or viewpoint.
- Forced action: Pushes consumers into taking an action they may not want to take, such as signing up for a service in order to access content.
- Nagging: Persistent criticism, complaints, and requests for action.
- Subscription traps: Easy to sign up for a service but difficult to quit or cancel; option is hidden or requires multiple steps.
- Bait & switch: Advertising a certain product/ service but delivering another, often of lower quality.
- Hidden costs: Hiding additional costs until consumers are already committed to making a purchase.
- Disguised ads: Designed to look like content, such as news articles or user-generated content.