What are dark patterns?
- A dark pattern refers to a design or user interface technique that is intentionally crafted to manipulate or deceive users into making certain choices or taking specific actions that may not be in their best interest.
- It is a deceptive practice employed to influence user behaviour in a way that benefits the company implementing it.
- For example, a common dark pattern is the “sneak into basket” technique used on e-commerce websites.
- When a user adds an item to their shopping cart, a dark pattern may be employed by automatically adding additional items to the cart without the user’s explicit consent or clear notification.
- This can mislead the user into purchasing more items than they intended, potentially increasing the company’s sales but compromising the user’s autonomy and decision-making.
Why in News?
- The Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, has sought public comments on Draft Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns.
- The draft Guidelines for Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns have been framed after detailed deliberations with all stakeholders including e-commerce platforms, law firms, Government and Voluntary Consumer Organizations (VCO’s).
- The draft guidelines define dark patterns as any practices or deceptive design patterns using UI/UX (user interface/user experience) interactions on any platform; designed to mislead or trick users to do something they originally did not intend or want to do; by subverting or impairing the consumer autonomy, decision making or choice; amounting to misleading advertisement or unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights.