Dark Pattern

1 min read
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Recently, it has been found that some Internet based firms have been tricking users into agreeing to certain conditions or clicking a few links.

About Dark Patterns:

  • What it is? It is a user interface that has been crafted to trick or manipulate users into making choices that are detrimental to their interests.
  • The term 'Dark Patterns' was coined by user experience designer Harry Brignull in 2010.
  • Dark patterns endanger the experience of internet users and make them more vulnerable to financial and data exploitation by BigTech firms.
  • Dark patterns confuse users, introduce online obstacles, make simple tasks time-consuming, have users sign up for unwanted services or products and force them to pay more money or share more personal information than they intended.
  • In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken note of dark patterns and the risks they pose. In a report released in September, 2022, the regulatory body listed over 30 dark patterns.
  • The FTC report outlined its legal action against Amazon in 2014, for a supposedly free children’s app that fooled its young users into making in-app purchases that their parents had to pay later for.

Types of dark patterns

  • In India, The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has recognised four dark patterns and these are the proposed areas of extension to the ASCI code on misleading ads.
  • Drip pricing: It is a pattern when the total price is only revealed at the very end of the buying process.
  • Bait and switch: It is a pattern that occurs when a user takes an action expecting one outcome, but instead is served an outcome they didn't want.
  • False urgency: It is a dark pattern that refers to misleading information on quantities of a particular product.
  • Disguised advertising: It is a pattern when an advertisement mimics editorial content.


Q1) Why are dark patterns unethical?

Dark patterns are features of online interface design, crafted to intentionally force or manipulate users into doing things they would not otherwise do under normal circumstances. These tactics, drawn from extensive behavioral psychology research, benefit the website's business and are unethical to use.

Source: Explained | What are ‘dark patterns’ in the Internet