Deceptive Design – formerly

Reading list

GDPR enforcer rules that IAB Europe’s consent popups are unlawful

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EU data protection authorities find that the consent popups that plagued Europeans for years are illegal. All data collected through them must be deleted. This decision impacts Google’s, Amazon’s and Microsoft’s online advertising businesses.

| Feb 02, 2022

Feb 02, 2022

Dark Patterns: A New Legal Standard or Just a Catchy Name? (Part One)

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State and federal regulators have definitely put a new emphasis on combatting so-called “dark patterns” – but other than a catchy name, is there really anything new about the types of conduct that state and federal officials are calling illegal? This two-part blogpost will take a closer look at that question.

Paul Singer & Jessica Rich | Feb 01, 2022

Feb 01, 2022

Dark Patterns: A New Legal Standard or Just a Catchy Name? (Part Two)

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In this post (Part Two), we examine the FTC’s approach to this issue, now and in the past. Here, we conclude that, despite the new terminology, the practices that comprise today’s dark patterns have been core elements of FTC law and policy for years.

Paul Singer & Jessica Rich | Feb 01, 2022

Feb 01, 2022

If you think all design is manipulation, please stop designing

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In this article and associated twitter thread Cennydd Bowles opines that design is not manipulative by definition. In his words: "Design influences. It persuades. But if it manipulates, something’s wrong.".

Cennydd Bowles | Jan 31, 2022

Jan 31, 2022

The Rising Human Cost of Sports Betting

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"The bitter truth of addiction is obscured by the smarmy ads and compromising relationships, and yet federal oversight is downright nonexistent."

Kurt Streeter | Jan 31, 2022

Jan 31, 2022

CMA secures changes to Xbox subscription practices

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The CMA has secured improvements for Xbox online players, following concerns about Microsoft’s use of auto-renewing subscriptions for online gaming services.

Competition and Markets Authority | Jan 26, 2022

Jan 26, 2022

Why designers should remove “Hooked” from their reading list

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"The first edition of the book came out in 2013, and our knowledge on some topics, such as social networks and mental health, is changed A LOT."

| Jan 26, 2022

Jan 26, 2022

Investigation reveals scale of behavioural surveillance by online gambling firms

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This investigation provides extensive information about the scope of the data flows and the web of third-party companies that receive that data to build detailed and intimate profiles of individuals, often without their knowledge.

Clean Up Gambling | Jan 26, 2022

Jan 26, 2022

Google deceived consumers about how it profits from their location data, attorneys general allege in lawsuits

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The complaints allege the company has deployed ‘dark patterns,’ design tricks that can subtly influence users’ decisions in ways that are advantageous for a business

Cat Zakrzewski | Jan 24, 2022

Jan 24, 2022

MEPs adopt Digital Services Act with significant last-minute changes

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Article 13a in the DSA "explicitly forbids the use of specific techniques to extort consent to collect personal data, for instance, via repeatedly showing pop-ups. It also prevents platforms from requesting such consent if users already choose via ‘automated means’, which might be a setting in the web browser or operating system."

Luca Bertuzzi | Jan 20, 2022

Jan 20, 2022

Confusopoly: confusing marketing designed to prevent the buyer from making informed decisions.

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"If [the sellers] can confuse the consumer enough then the consumers won't necessary know what choice they're making and they can be talked into just about anything." -  Richard Cordray (Former Director of CFPB, 2014)

Wikipedia | Jan 16, 2022

Jan 16, 2022

From Compliance To Privacy UX: Regulators Come For Dark Patterns

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The French data protection authority hit Facebook and Google with multimillion-dollar fines yesterday for their use of deceptive design in their cookie consent banners.

Stephanie Liu, Andrew Hogan & Enza Iannopollo | Jan 07, 2022

Jan 07, 2022

France spanks Google $170M, Facebook $68M over cookie consent dark patterns

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Today, the CNIL said it’s fined Google €150M (~$170M) and Facebook €60M (~$68M) for breaching French law, following investigations of how they present tracking choices to users of, and

Natasha Lomas | Jan 06, 2022

Jan 06, 2022

Cookies: the CNIL fines GOOGLE a total of 150 million euros and FACEBOOK 60 million euros for non-compliance with French legislation

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Following investigations, the CNIL noted that the websites, and do not make refusing cookies as easy as to accept them. It thus fines FACEBOOK 60 million euros and GOOGLE 150 million euros and orders them to comply within three months.

CNIL | Jan 06, 2022

Jan 06, 2022

If you click to subscribe, you should be able to click to cancel.

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FTC has made clear that to comply with the law, businesses must ensure sign-ups are clear, consensual, and easy to cancel.

Lina Kahn | Jan 06, 2022

Jan 06, 2022

Google is manipulating browser extensions to stifle competitors, DuckDuckGo CEO says

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"Google for years has used misleading notifications to lure users into disabling its rival’s browser extensions [...] The changes include requiring users to answer whether they would rather “Change back to Google search” after adding the DuckDuckGo extension and showing users a larger, highlighted button when giving them the option to “Change it back”.

Cristiano Lima and Aaron Schaffer | Jan 05, 2022

Jan 05, 2022

When Tracking Your Period Lets Companies Track You

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Many of health apps also have a dark side — selling your most personal data to third parties like advertisers, insurers and tech companies. [Podcast episode]

Emily Kwong, Rebecca Ramirez & Margaret Cirino | Dec 29, 2021

Dec 29, 2021

Cancelling NYT subscription is unnecessarily hard.

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"Cancel anytime" actually means "you need to call a phone number, wait for someone to pick up and *maybe* you can cancel then. Or not."

Gergely Orosz | Dec 21, 2021

Dec 21, 2021

Food packaging deception: "Slack-fill"

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"Slack-fill is the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein." "A container that does not allow the consumer to fully view its contents shall be considered to be filled as to be MISLEADING if it contains [...] slack-fill" | Dec 21, 2021

Dec 21, 2021

An overview of the provisions successfully pushed through by the Greens/EFA into the European Digital Services Act:

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On 14 December 2021, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee of the European Parliament adopted its report on the Digital Services Act.

Alexandra Geese | Dec 14, 2021

Dec 14, 2021

What does a future without dark patterns look like?

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In a world with the EU Digital Services Act, online platforms must design web services in a way that does not trick users into giving away their personal data. If they fail, they’ll be held accountable.

The Greens / EFA | Dec 14, 2021

Dec 14, 2021

Toyota owners have to pay $8/mo to keep using their key fob for remote start

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Feature requires subscription even though it doesn’t use connected services.

Tim De Chant | Dec 13, 2021

Dec 13, 2021

Google admits that they actively worked to "slow down and delay" the ePrivacy Regulation.

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Hidden away in #Google adtech antitrust complaint, in ref to internal docs: “We have been successful in slowing down and delaying the [ePrivacy Regulation] process and have been working behind the scenes hand in hand with the other companies.”

| Oct 22, 2021

Oct 22, 2021

The Media Manipulation Casebook

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A digital research platform linking together theory, methods, and practice for mapping media manipulation and disinformation campaigns.

Joan Donovan | Jul 09, 2021

Jul 09, 2021

A New AI Lexicon: BIG DATA SWINDLING (大数据杀熟, dà shùjù shā shú)

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"The roughly translated “big data swindling” (大数据杀熟, dà shùjù shā shú [...] is a hotly debated term used to describe a mix of dark patterns and dynamic pricing that online platforms employ to exploit users..."

Shazeda Ahmed | Jun 29, 2021

Jun 29, 2021

What Makes a Dark Pattern... Dark? Design Attributes, Normative Considerations, and Measurement Methods

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A review of recent (2020) work on dark patterns. The authors demonstrate that the literature does not reflect a singular concern or consistent definition, but rather a set of thematically related considerations.

Mathur, Arunesh; Mayer, Jonathan; Kshirsagar, Mihir | May 08, 2021

May 08, 2021

Getting under your skin(s): A legal-ethical exploration of Fortnite’s transformation into a content delivery platform and its manipulative potential

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Academic analysis of how Fortnite is using its platform to manipulate users.

Marijn Sax, Jef Ausloos | Mar 11, 2021

Mar 11, 2021

Google’s FLoC Is a Terrible Idea

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The third-party cookie is dying, and Google is trying to create its replacement. No one should mourn the death of the cookie as we know it.

Bennett Cyphers | Mar 03, 2021

Mar 03, 2021

How video games are becoming the next frontier in the ‘Tech Cold War’

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The 'platformisation' of the games industry is posing some serious challenges for Europe and the internet at large.

Markus Droemann | Mar 03, 2021

Mar 03, 2021

Statement of U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner After Governor Northam Signed Privacy Legislation Into Law

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after Governor Ralph Northam signed the Consumer Data Protection Act into state law:

| Mar 02, 2021

Mar 02, 2021

"Fine Print" lesson

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Font size can be the difference between compliance and a class action lawsuit

@RobertFreundLaw | Feb 25, 2021

Feb 25, 2021

Buyer beware: Massive experiment shows why ticket sellers hit you with last-second fees

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News article summarising the findings from the research paper "Price Salience and Product Choice". "StubHub concluded that so-called “drip pricing” [...] resulted in people spending about 21% more."

Morgan Foy | Feb 09, 2021

Feb 09, 2021

Les dark patterns ou comment ruiner la navigation Internet

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Des fenêtres de navigation qui s’ouvrent inopinément, des couleurs criardes qui attirent l’œil, des caractères minuscules… Internet est rempli de désagréments en tout genre. Tout ceci est savamment conçu pour piéger l’internaute et porte un nom : les dark patterns. Explications.

Lorraine Redaud | Feb 08, 2021

Feb 08, 2021

The Negative Side of UX/UI Design — The Scary Side of Design

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"In today's video, we will go through dark patterns in UI and UX. These patterns are often misleading and almost blackmailing in nature. They make you feel bad about certain decisions you take and only benefit the business."

Punit Chawla | Feb 08, 2021

Feb 08, 2021

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A not-for-profit project building a collaborative, online directory of ethical companies of all kinds.

| Feb 04, 2021

Feb 04, 2021

What Kind of Work Do “Asshole Designers” Create? Describing Properties of Ethical Concern on Reddit

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This paper introduces the concept of "Asshole Design" and described the properties of asshole designers. The most related part of this paper is the authors differentiating dark patterns to asshole design properties, emphasizing the definition of dark patterns in relation to bad designs, value-centered, and asshole designs.

Gray, C. M., Chivukula, S. S., & Lee, A | Feb 01, 2021

Feb 01, 2021

End User Accounts of Dark Patterns as Felt Manipulation

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This paper provides the end-user perspective of the felt manipulation without directly using the language of dark patterns, but the examples illustrating some strategies that align with dark patterns defined in the literature.

Gray, C. M., Chen, J., Chivukula, S. S., & Qu, L | Feb 01, 2021

Feb 01, 2021

Lawmakers Take Aim at Insidious Digital ‘Dark Patterns’

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A new California law (the California Privacy Rights Act) prohibits efforts to trick consumers into handing over data or money. A bill in Washington state (SB 5062 - 2021-22) used similar language.

Tom Simonite | Jan 29, 2021

Jan 29, 2021

Why I'm losing faith in UX

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"UX doesn't live up to its original meaning of 'user experience.' Instead, much of the discipline today, as it's practiced in Big Tech firms, is better described by a new name. UX is now 'user exploitation.'"

Mark Hurst | Jan 28, 2021

Jan 28, 2021

The end of dark patterns in “cookie walls”: German court bans deceptive designs

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The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) filed a complaint against “advocado”, an online service that helps people find a lawyer. With its lawsuit, the consumer protection group challenged the use of dark patterns in cookie banners used.

Peter Hense | Jan 21, 2021

Jan 21, 2021

California Voters Approve (Another) Overhaul of California Consumer Privacy Laws: Meet the California Privacy Rights Act

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The CPRA defines a “dark pattern” as “a user interface designed or manipulated with the substantial effect of subverting or impairing user autonomy, decision-making, or choice” and clarifies that it should be “further defined by regulation.

Paul W. Sweeney, Jr., Tara C. Clancy & Gregory T. Lewis | Jan 13, 2021

Jan 13, 2021

"Dark Patterns" Make Their Appearance in California's New Privacy Law

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"First, the CPRA adds a new definition of "consent" to the CCPA. The new definition explicitly states that "[A]greement obtained through the use of dark patterns does not constitute consent." Then, paralleling the definitions from Deceived by Design and the DETOUR Act, the CPRA defines a "dark pattern" as "a user interface designed or manipulated with the substantial effect of subverting or impairing user autonomy, decision-making, or choice, as further defined by regulation." Finally, the law directs that regulations regarding the sale or sharing of personal information ensure that a business obtaining consumer consent to such sale or sharing "does not make use of any dark patterns.""

Christopher W. Savage | Dec 30, 2020

Dec 30, 2020

The CNIL’s restricted committee imposes a financial penalty of 50 Million euros against GOOGLE LLC

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On 21 January 2019, the CNIL’s restricted committee imposed a financial penalty of 50 Million euros against the company GOOGLE LLC, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding the ads personalization.

Cnil | Dec 10, 2020

Dec 10, 2020

Hanlon’s razor & how it applies to “asshole design”

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"Video about the difference between dark patterns & things badly designed by accident. With some hilarious examples of bad design"

Unusable podcast | Nov 07, 2020

Nov 07, 2020

Dark patterns powered by machine learning: an intelligent combination

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Like millions of others, Netflix r̶e̶c̶o̶m̶m̶e̶n̶d̶e̶d̶ autoplayed The Social Dilemma documentary to my iPhone, and it made an impression.

Zakary Kinnaird | Oct 13, 2020

Oct 13, 2020

Dark Patterns and the Legal Requirements of Consent Banners: An Interaction Criticism Perspective

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An interaction criticism analysis of dark patterns in consent banners.

Colin M. Gray, Cristiana Santos, Nataliia Bielova, Michael Toth, Damian Clifford | Sep 21, 2020

Sep 21, 2020

'Dark Patterns': Online Manipulation of Consumers

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In this video Professor Lior J. Strahilevitz presents new experimental research on Dark Patterns. He examines their effectiveness, and assesses the role of market forces and legal regulation in constraining their use.

Lior J. Strahilevitz | Sep 10, 2020

Sep 10, 2020

Dark and Bright Patterns in Cookie Consent Requests

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The paper investigates the effects of dark and bright patterns in cookie consent requests on users’ consent decisions and their perception of control over their data.

Paul Graßl, Hanna Schraffenberger, Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius, Moniek Buijzen | Aug 12, 2020

Aug 12, 2020

The Subtle Tricks Shopping Sites Use to Make You Spend More

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"Last year, researchers from Princeton University and the University of Chicago published a study looking at roughly 11,000 shopping sites, and found dark patterns on more than 11 percent of them, including major retailers like Fashion Nova and J.C. Penney. The researchers discovered that the more popular the website, the more likely it was to feature dark patterns."

Louise Matsakis | Aug 06, 2020

Aug 06, 2020

Eye on Design: Who’s Responsible for Preventing Dark Patterns?

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Some say designers are uniquely positioned to stop the madness. What will it take to make the changes we desperately need?

Sophie Tahran | Aug 06, 2020

Aug 06, 2020

Dark Design Patterns: An End-User Perspective

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This paper reports on qualitative research (focus groups and interviews) carried out on the theme of Dark Patterns.

Maier & Harr | Aug 01, 2020

Aug 01, 2020

New warning labels informing consumers about products that could be unhealthy are starting to arrive in supermarkets across Mexico"

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In Mexico, large Black octagons are now placed on the packaging of products that are high in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, sodium or calories.

Unknown author | Jul 30, 2020

Jul 30, 2020

Dark and bright patterns in cookie consent requests

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The findings of this paper "support the notion that the EU’s consent requirement for tracking cookies does not work as intended. Further, we give insights into why this might be the case and recommendations on how to address the issue."

Grassl, Paul; Schraffenberger, Hanna; Zuiderveen Borgesius, Frederik; Buijzen, Moniek | Jul 21, 2020

Jul 21, 2020

Price Salience and Product Choice

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Academics working with StubHub carried out a huge test on hidden fees vs vs upfront fees. Users who weren’t shown fees upfront spent ≈21% more and were 14% more likely to complete a purchase. This research involved several million participants.

Blake, Moshary, Sweeney & Tadelis | Jul 07, 2020

Jul 07, 2020

User Inyerface (Dark Pattern Game)

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"A challenging exploration of user interactions and design patterns. To play the game, simply fill in the form as fast and accurate as possible." | Jul 01, 2020

Jul 01, 2020

Manipulative tactics are the norm in political emails: Evidence from 100K emails from the 2020 U.S. election cycle

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Using a corpus of more than 100,000 political emails from over 2,800 political campaigns and organizations sent during the 2020 U.S. election cycle, we find that manipulative tactics are the norm, not the exception. Our data can be browsed

Arunesh Mathur, Angelina Wang, Carsten Schwemmer, Brandon Stewart, Arvind Narayanan | Jun 24, 2020

Jun 24, 2020

A Human-centric Perspective on Digital Consenting: The Case of GAFAM

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"GDPR expects specific prerequisites for a lawful consent, which should be valid, freely given, specific, informed and active… however… the majority of people do not seem to be empowered to practice their digital right to privacy and lawful consenting"

Soheil Human, Florian Cech | Jun 17, 2020

Jun 17, 2020

UI Dark Patterns and Where to Find Them: A Study on Mobile Applications and User Perception

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Researchers analyzed Dark Patterns in 240 apps and ran an experiment with 589 users on how they perceive Dark Patterns. They found 95% of the apps contained Dark Patterns and that most users do not recognize Dark Patterns unless informed beforehand.

Linda Di Geronimo, Larissa Braz, Enrico Fregnan, Fabio Palomba, and Alberto Bacchelli | May 25, 2020

May 25, 2020

Netflix to automatically cancel ‘hundreds of thousands’ of inactive accounts

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An interesting counterpoint to the many stories of organisations making it hard for consumers to cancel their subscriptions. Here, Netflix does the opposite and automatically cancels premium subscriptions on inactive accounts.

Louis Chilton | May 23, 2020

May 23, 2020

Dark Patterns: Past, Present, and Future

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This paper traces the origins of dark patterns, highlights contemporary issues, and describes where they might be heading in the future. It offers recommendations for designers to steer clear of these patterns.

Arvind Narayanan, Arunesh Mathur, Marshini Chetty, and Mihir Kshirsagar | May 17, 2020

May 17, 2020

Dark Patterns: Regulating Digital Design

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Policy brief with suggestions for how to regulate dark patterns.

Stiftung Neue Verantwortung | May 13, 2020

May 13, 2020

Are dark patterns anti-competitive?

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This Article argues that digital manipulation should, in many instances, be considered to be a type of anticompetitive behaviour. Digital manipulation erodes users’ ability to act rationally, which empowers platforms to extract wealth and build market power without doing so on the merits.

Gregory Day and Abbey Stemler | May 11, 2020

May 11, 2020

Dark Patterns after the GDPR: Scraping Consent Pop-ups and Demonstrating their Influence

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New consent management platforms (CMPs) have been introduced to the web to conform with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, particularly its requirements for consent when companies collect and process users' personal data.

Midas Nouwens, Ilaria Liccardi, Michael Veale, David Karger, Lalana Kagel | Apr 01, 2020

Apr 01, 2020

Navigating Fake News, Alternative Facts, and Misinformation in a Post-Truth World

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A book featuring research on human and automated methods to deter the spread of misinformation online, such as legal or policy changes, information literacy workshops, and algorithms that can detect fake news dissemination patterns in social media.

Dalkir, Kimiz; Katz, Rebecca | Feb 28, 2020

Feb 28, 2020

Ethics in Design and Communication

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"Designers face the same challenges as everyone else in the complex conditions of contemporary cultural life-choices about consumption, waste, exploitation, ecological damage, and political problems built into the supply chains on which the global systems of inequity currently balance precariously. But designers face the additional dilemma that their paid work is often entangled with promoting the same systems such critical approaches seek to redress: how to reconcile this contradiction, among others, in seeking to chart an ethical course of action while still functioning effectively in the world."

Scherling, Laura; DeRose, Andrew | Feb 20, 2020

Feb 20, 2020

Guidelines on the protection of the online consumer

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Business facing guidelines by the Dutch Consumers and Markets Authority showing what manipulative practices to avoid.

Authority for Consumers and Markets | Feb 11, 2020

Feb 11, 2020

Sale ending soon? How online stores trick you into buying

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"After reviewing 200 of the top shopping sites, including Amazon, eBay and, a study by the University of Michigan’s School of Information found that all the sites had an average of 19 features that could encourage impulse buying, such as limited-time discounts and wording that made an item seem like it was almost out of stock.

Joseph Pisani | Jan 22, 2020

Jan 22, 2020

Americans at Risk: Manipulation and Deception in the Digital Age.

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The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing entitled, “Americans at Risk: Manipulation and Deception in the Digital Age.” Witnesses included Monika Bickert, Joan Donovan, Ph.D., Tristan Harris and Justin (Gus) Hurwitz.

Hurwitz, Justin | Jan 08, 2020

Jan 08, 2020

Sludge Audits

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"Sludge" is an alternative term for Dark Patterns. In this paper, Cass Sunstein argues that institutions should conduct Sludge Audits to catalogue the costs of sludge, because it can hurt the most vulnerable members of society.

SUNSTEIN, C.A.S.S. R. | Jan 06, 2020

Jan 06, 2020

Circumvention by design - Dark patterns in cookie consent for online news outlets

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Researchers analyzed 300 data collection consent notices from news outlets to ensure compliance with GDPR. The analysis uncovered a variety of dark patterns that circumvent the intent of GDPR by design.

Soe, Nordberg, Guribye & Slavkovik | Jan 01, 2020

Jan 01, 2020

Design for Cognitive Bias

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In Design for Cognitive Bias, David Dylan Thomas lays bare the irrational forces that shape our everyday decisions and, inevitably, inform the experiences we craft. Once we grasp the logic powering these forces, we stand a fighting chance of confronting them, tempering them, and even harnessing them for good.

David Dylan Thomas | Jan 01, 2020

Jan 01, 2020

How ‘dark patterns’ influence travel bookings

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"If you’ve wondered whether there were actually 30 people trying to book the same flight as you, you’re not alone. As Chris Baraniuk finds, the numbers may not be all they seem."

Chris Baraniuk | Dec 11, 2019

Dec 11, 2019

Tricks Online Retailers Use to Get You to Spend More

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"Many e-commerce offers are pushed with fake notifications, bogus countdown timers and other misleading tactics"

Jo Craven McGinty | Nov 22, 2019

Nov 22, 2019

Troubling Online Shopping Habits? Vendors’ Practices Might Be to Blame

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"Members of Princeton’s Web Transparency & Accountability Project (WebTAP) used automated web-crawling programs to assemble a list of the dark patterns the programs could see in a page’s text. Then they classified the dark patterns’ methods systematically.

Bennett McIntosh ’16 | Nov 13, 2019

Nov 13, 2019

(Un)informed Consent: Studying GDPR Consent Notices in the Field

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A study of dark patterns in cookie consent dialogues.

Christine Utz, Martin Degeling, Sascha Fahl, Florian Schaub, Thorsten Holz | Nov 11, 2019

Nov 11, 2019

Dark patterns at scale: Findings from a crawl of 11K shopping websites

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"We present automated techniques that enable experts to identify dark patterns on a large set of websites. Using these techniques, we study shopping websites, which often use dark patterns to influence users into making more purchases or disclosing more information than they would otherwise. Analyzing ∼53K product pages from ∼11K shopping websites, we discover 1,818 dark pattern instances, together representing 15 types and 7 broader categories. We examine these dark patterns for deceptive practices, and find 183 websites that engage in such practices."

Mathur, Arunesh; Acar, Gunes; Friedman, Michael J.; Lucherini, Elena; Mayer, Jonathan; Chetty, Marshini; Narayanan, Arvind | Nov 01, 2019

Nov 01, 2019

How might we evaluate dark patterns?

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Dark patterns, present across platforms and devices, work to undermine consumer choice and autonomy — but we currently have no framework for evaluating them. How might we evaluate these deceptive design interfaces to better support consumer empowerment?

Katie McInnis | Oct 15, 2019

Oct 15, 2019


Airtable ID


Written by Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Christopher Wylie, this book is a detailed account of the way modern marketing technologies were applied in targeted disinformation propaganda campaigns, including those that gave us Trump and Brexit.

Christopher Wylie | Oct 08, 2019

Oct 08, 2019

Privacy in the EU and US: Consumer experiences across three global platforms

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Comparative study on the privacy practices of Amazon, Spotify and Netflix in the EU and the US. Also looks at the use of dark patterns.

Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue | Oct 01, 2019

Oct 01, 2019

Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction (DETOUR) bill

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DETOUR was a bi-partisan bill that aimed to curb manipulative dark pattern behavior by prohibiting the largest online platforms (those with over 100 million monthly active users) from relying on user interfaces that intentionally impair user autonomy, decision-making, or choice.

Warner, Mark R. | Sep 04, 2019

Sep 04, 2019

Senators Introduce Bill to Stop 'Dark Patterns' Huge Platforms Use to Trick Users

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"Senators Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska) have introduced legislation to ban so-called “dark patterns” tactics designed to trick users..."

Tom McKay | Sep 04, 2019

Sep 04, 2019

‘Double nudge’ encourages employers to offer flexibility, in turn boosting job application rates

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Interesting case study from the UK's Behavioural Insights team (aka "nudge unit"). NOT a dark pattern, obviously! But very relevant because the same methodology and techniques are used to create and optimise dark patterns.

| Sep 01, 2019

Sep 01, 2019

Cognitive biases, dark patterns, and the ‘privacy paradox'

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This essay shows how cognitive biases and dark pattern are used to manipulate people into disclosing private information. It then explains how current law allows this to continue and proposes a new approach to reign in the phenomenon.

Waldman, Ari Ezra | Aug 25, 2019

Aug 25, 2019

The Endless, Invisible Persuasion Tactics of the Internet

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"Online shopping turns your brain against you, but you can fight back."

Sidney Fussell | Aug 02, 2019

Aug 02, 2019

How To Make Sure Your App Isn’t Evil

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Tom Scott interviews Harry Brignull about Dark Patterns.

Tom Scott | Jul 09, 2019

Jul 09, 2019

Analyzing GDPR Compliance Through the Lens of Privacy Policy

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"We show that many services that claim compliance today do not have clear and concise privacy policies. We identify several points in the privacy policies which potentially indicate non-compliance; we term these GDPR vulnerabilities. We identify GDPR vulnerabilities in ten cloud services. Based on our analysis, we propose seven best practices for crafting GDPR privacy policies."

Mohan, Jayashree; Wasserman, Melissa; Chidambaram, Vijay | Jun 28, 2019

Jun 28, 2019

Practical UI Patterns for Design Systems

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"Gain product design foundations by bringing design processes to light, especially for growing organizations with evolving design systems. Fast-track design work by providing practical examples of patterns for a variety of real-world purposes. Level up the breadth of your skills and understanding by illuminating user experience design concepts, such as usability, accessibility, microcopy, motion design, and information architecture."

MacDonald, Diana | Jun 27, 2019

Jun 27, 2019

How E-Commerce Sites Manipulate You Into Buying Things You May Not Want

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"'Alexandra from Anaheim' was among the shoppers that visitors to ThredUp were told had recently bought items on the site. But she didn’t exist."

Jennifer Valentino-DeVries | Jun 24, 2019

Jun 24, 2019

How ticket fees got so bad, and why they won’t get better

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After an FTC workshop about the astronomical fees added on to most concert tickets, it is fairly clear that nothing is being done.

Kaitlyn Tiffany | Jun 12, 2019

Jun 12, 2019

The world needs a tech diet; here is how designers can help

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A well written introductory article about Dark Patterns. Also provides 10 guidelines for designers to help steer their company away from deceptive practices.

Fabricio Teixeira & Caio Braga | May 23, 2019

May 23, 2019

Most cookie banners are annoying and deceptive. This is not consent.

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Article on how dark patterns in cookie banners are not legally valid consent mechanisms under the GDPR.

Privacy International | May 21, 2019

May 21, 2019

“Nothing comes before profit”: Asshole design in the wild

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Researchers analyzed 1002 posts from the subreddit '/r/assholedesign' to identify the types of artifact being shared and the interaction purposes that were perceived to be manipulative or unethical.

Chivukula, Shruthi Sai; Watkins, Chris; McKay, Lucca; Gray, Colin M. | May 01, 2019

May 01, 2019

Big Tech’s ‘dark patterns’ could be outlawed under new Senate bill

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"Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced a bill that would prohibit large internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google from using deceptive design tricks as methods to trick users into handing over their personal data."

Makena Kelly | Apr 09, 2019

Apr 09, 2019

Competition and Consumer Protection in the Twenty-First Century (FTC Hearing)

Airtable ID


"my prediction for 2019 - let’s do this like a TV show is this is the year where dark patterns really becomes the kind of thing that we’re really talking a lot about." - Paul Ohm

Author unknown | Apr 09, 2019

Apr 09, 2019

Privacy UX: Common Concerns And Privacy In Web Forms

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"Web interfaces have become quite a character, haven’t they? Self-indulgent, impolite, disrespectful and obsessed with user’s data. In this series of articles, we’re looking into privacy UX patterns to make our interfaces better without leaving conversion considerations behind."

Vitaly Friedman | Apr 04, 2019

Apr 04, 2019

Why Is Customer Service So Bad? Because It’s Profitable.

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"...a subset of companies purposely make callers jump through hoops with the hope that they’ll simply give up. When this happens, the company saves money on redress costs." (Article summarising the paper "Why Customer Service Frustrates Consumers: Using a Tiered Organizational Structure to Exploit Hassle Costs")

Anthony Dukes and Yi Zhu | Feb 28, 2019

Feb 28, 2019

How to Spot Manipulative 'Dark Patterns' Online

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Consumer Reports guide to spotting dark patterns.

Thomas Germain | Jan 30, 2019

Jan 30, 2019

Websites that insult you - the UX dark pattern of "confirmshaming"

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"A chat about the dark pattern of “Confirm shaming”, which guilts the user into opting into something. Often seen on an exit intent popup, or a registration form, the words that course you into taking an action that benefits the website owner is getting more extreme."

Unusable podcast | Jan 20, 2019

Jan 20, 2019

Shaping Choices in the Digital World.

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From dark patterns to data protection: the influence of ux/ui design on user empowerment. This report highlights the ability to use UX as a "power tool" to establish a platform's position.

Gwendal Le Grand | Jan 01, 2019

Jan 01, 2019

Online Manipulation: Hidden Influences in a Digital World

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Academic paper on online manipulation and its harms to individuals and social institutions.

Daniel Susser, Beate Roessler, Helen Nissenbaum | Dec 23, 2018

Dec 23, 2018