May 19, 2021

Dark Patterns Tip Line: Share Your Experiences with Manipulative Design

Amira Dhalla

Focused on tech as it intersects with inclusion, privacy, equity & rights

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Every day, we’re exploited for profit through dark patterns: design tactics used in websites and apps to persuade you into doing things you probably would not do otherwise. 

These patterns can creep into your everyday interactions online – Have you found an extra cost added to your checkout right before you click purchase? Or maybe a platform prompts you for permission but doesn’t give you the option of saying ‘no’? Or even if you’ve found yourself forced to give your personal information to register or cancel an account? The list goes on, and on. Dark Patterns can be tricky to spot and that’s why we need your help to take a stand against them. 

Consumer Reports is excited to be part of a coalition launching the Dark Patterns Tip Line, a new platform that allows individuals to report on manipulative design patterns they see in everyday products and services. The Dark Pattern Tip Line looks at uncovering the harm consumers face by lingering Dark Patterns online that force individuals to give their personal data, money and attention to things they wouldn’t otherwise. 

The Dark Patterns Tip Line is led by a team of designers, academic researchers, legal experts, policy specialists, and advocacy-minded individuals. In collaboration with advisors from Access Now, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Pen America, and DarkPatterns.org, we’ve come together to collect dark patterns to better understand how technology is exploiting people. Our ultimate vision is to leverage this data to combat manipulative practices online through policy reform.

In order to hold companies accountable for their use of dark patterns on the web, we’re going to need to raise public awareness and compile a large list of tips on where these dark patterns are and how to spot them. Working together, we can help hold corporations accountable for dishonest and harmful design practices. Join us by reporting a dark pattern now!

If you’re interested in learning more about dark patterns and how to spot them, join our next Digital Wellness Workshop on May 25, 2021 where we will share more examples of dark patterns and actions you can take.

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