Category: Dark patterns

Lab notes: May 2021

CR's Digital Fellows deliver lightning talks on consumer tech harms Earlier this month we hosted an event to showcase the innovative work of our Digital Lab Fellows who have received generous support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies over the past 10 months. The Fellows presented updates on their projects that aim to help uncover and

Dark Patterns Tip Line: Share Your Experiences with Manipulative Design

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

Introducing the Dark Patterns Tip Line

Today, we’re thrilled to launch the Dark Patterns Tip Line, a website that allows consumers to share manipulative designs they encounter online. Dark patterns are common and strikingly effective in websites and apps we use everyday but are sometimes hard to spot. For instance, a tax service could mislead people into paying for services advertised for free. Or an online

Scaling Up Consumer Protection Research on Online Advertising

It is well known that digital ads violate privacy, yet we know little about their content. Digital ads are of increasingly low-quality, and often contain manipulative and deceptive components to lure users into viewing potentially harmful content. This harmful content can range from disinformation or hyper-partisan websites all the way to products with questionable claims or value like health products

CR Members Share Their Experiences with Food Delivery Apps

In August, 2020, Consumer Reports (CR) investigated fee transparency with food delivery apps. We inspected four of the most widely used online food delivery companies - DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and UberEats. Our research focused on seven cities : Chicago, Jersey City, Los Angeles, New York City, Portland, Seattle, and Washington DC. All of these cities attempted to protect consumers by

Calling all public interest tech researchers!

Are you passionate about privacy, security, or digital rights? Do you work on consumer protection research or new methods to study the digital world? If so, keep reading! At CR’s (Consumer Reports) Digital Lab, we are now accepting applications for paid, non-resident fellows to uncover and solve for consumer harms in the digital world. This ten month fellowship provides a

Consumer Reports Investigates Fee Transparency With Food Delivery Apps

Food delivery app orders have more than doubled since COVID-19 began to spread in the US earlier this year. Accompanying this surge was a rise in fees related to service, delivery, and restaurant commissions. Food delivery app companies have been employing design practices that obfuscate fees — impacting restaurant profits and worker pay. “These outsized fees are massively eating into what little

Moving Beyond Consent Models in Privacy Legislation

  A few weeks ago, Public Knowledge convened a panel discussion: How Do We Move Beyond Consent Models in Privacy Legislation? This event featured keynote speaker Senator Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) on the following panel including: Sara Collins, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge @SNolanCollins Yosef Getachew, Director for Media & Democracy Program at Common Cause @ygetachew2 Nathalie Marechal, Senior Policy Analyst

Student Tracking and the College Board

A recent review of the College Board website shows how students using the site are tracked, and how details of student activity on the College Board site are shared with multiple third party vendors. Some of the tracking and sharing appears to be violating the College Board’s own privacy policies. On July 22, we contacted the College Board with a