Dark Patterns on the Internet

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    In News

    • Some Internet-based firms have been tricking users into agreeing to certain conditions or clicking a few links.

    About Dark Patterns

    • These patterns are unethical user interface designs that deliberately make users’ Internet experience harder or even exploit them. 
    • 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.
    • The term is credited to UI/UX (user interface/user experience) researcher and designer Harry Brignull, who has been working to catalogue such patterns and the companies using them since around 2010. 

    Use of Dark patterns

    • 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. 
    • In social media, LinkedIn users often receive unsolicited, sponsored messages from influencers. 

    Concerns

    • Dark patterns endanger the experience of Internet users and make them more vulnerable to financial and data exploitation by Big Tech firms. 
    • Disabling this option is a difficult process with multiple steps that require users to be familiar with the platform controls.
    • Dark patterns confuse users, introduce online obstacles, make simple tasks time-consuming, and have users sign up for unwanted services/products

    Way Ahead

    • Internet users who are able to identify and recognise dark patterns in their daily lives can choose more user-friendly platforms that will respect their right to choose and privacy.

    Source: TH