Dark Patterns

Dark Patterns

Dark Patterns

This article talks about how Dark patterns on the internet impact Science and technology. In GS-3 and following content has relevance for UPSC.

For prelims: Cyber security  

For mains: GS-3, Science and technology

Why in news:

Internet-based businesses have been fooling customers into accepting specific conditions or clicking a few links in an increase in “Dark Patterns” or “Deceptive Patterns” cases that have recently been reported.

Background:

  • Harry Brignull, a user experience consultant and researcher of human-computer interactions who is based in the UK, is the author of the phrase “dark patterns.”
  • He coined the phrase to explain the subtle ways in which software can deceive users into taking actions they weren’t intending to.
  • Since roughly 2010, he has been striving to compile a list of these patterns and the businesses that employ them.

About Dark Patterns

  • Dark Patterns are unethical user interface/user experience (UI/UX) interactions that are created to deceive or manipulate consumers into doing something they don’t want to do.
  • They also help the platform or business using the designs.
  • Digital platforms that employ the patterns deny users their right to complete disclosure of the services they are utilizing and control over their surfing experience.

 Working pattern:

  • Dark patterns are user interfaces that are intended to trick or persuade users into taking actions against their better judgement.
  • It is particularly common when purchasing goods or services online.
  • By using “these patterns,” a consumer is duped into spending more money, divulging more information than was intended, exchanging data, or making decisions based on fabricated or compensated evaluations.

Major day to day Example

  • Businesses in the social media and big tech sectors, like Apple, Amazon, Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Google, take use of deceptive or poor customer experiences.
  • The examples below will help you comprehend how these patterns function.
    • Amazon received criticism in the EU for its complicated, multi-step cancellation process for Amazon Prime.
    • Users of LinkedIn frequently get unwanted sponsored messages from influential people.
    • Users have complained that they are being presented with suggested posts they did not want to see and that they were unable to permanently set preferences as Meta-owned Instagram pivots to video-based content to compete against
    • The last few seconds of a video are obscured by thumbnails of other videos as Google-owned YouTube nags users to sign up for YouTube Premium, interfering with what should have been an otherwise seamless user experience.

Impact on Users:

  • These patterns degrade Internet users’ experiences and make them more vulnerable to data and money exploitation by Big Tech firms.
  • The patterns deceive consumers, put up obstacles online, prolong the completion of normal tasks, persuade them to sign up for unpleasant services or products, and pressure them into spending more money or giving more personal information than they had intended.

India’s Strategy:

  • The Indian advertising industry’s self-regulatory body, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), recently said that it intends to broaden its code to address issues with “dark patterns” in digital advertising.
  • According to ASCI, influencers used ordinary content to pass off nearly a third of the advertisements it processed in FY22 as advertisements.
  • An investigation task force has been established by the ASCI.

Way Forward:

  • Dark and misleading patterns are not limited to cell phones and laptops.
  • According to the FTC analysis, as the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) platforms and devices increases, consumers will probably also follow these patterns to these new channels.
  • Internet users can select more user-friendly platforms that will respect their right to privacy and choice if they are able to recognize and identify dark trends in their daily life.

Source:

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