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Deceptive patterns – exposing the tricks that tech companies use to control you

By Harry Brignull

Learn how online businesses exploit consumers through carefully designed tricks and traps. Regulations are changing rapidly, and we're seeing a big rise in legal enforcement. But is it enough to protect consumers?

A hardback edition of the book 'Deceptive Patterns' by Harry Brignull

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Table of contents

1. Diving into the world of deception
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  • A primer on design industry terminology
  • The rise of deceptive patterns
  • From homo economicus to homo manipulable
2. Exploitative strategies
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  • Exploiting perceptual vulnerabilities
  • Exploiting vulnerabilities in comprehension
  • Exploiting vulnerabilities in decision-making
  • Exploiting expectations
  • Resource depletion and pressure
  • Forcing and blocking
  • Exploiting emotional vulnerabilities
  • Exploiting addiction
  • Drawing a line between persuasion and manipulation
3. Types of deceptive pattern
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  • Introducing the Mathur et al. taxonomy of dark patterns
  • Sneaking
  • Urgency
  • Misdirection
  • Social proof
  • Scarcity
  • Obstruction
  • Forced action
  • How deceptive patterns can be more harmful when combined
4. Harms caused by deceptive patterns
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  • Harm to individuals
  • Harm to groups in society
  • Harm to the marketplace
5. Stamping out deceptive patterns
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  • Our attempts so far have not been successful
  • The crucial role of regulation
  • Legislation in the European Union
  • Legislation in the United States
  • Enforcement challenges
6. The road ahead
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  • Changes afoot in the European Union
  • Changes afoot in the United States
  • AI, hypernudging and system-level deceptive patterns
  • The risk of a techno-dystopian future
  • Concluding thoughts

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