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Term: Dark Patterns

Deceptive user interface design choices that trick users into taking actions they might not have intended.

What Are Dark Patterns?

Dark patterns are interfaces and user experiences that lead users to make unintended, unwilling, and potentially harmful decisions regarding the processing of their personal data. They are being used to influence users’ behavior and can impact their ability to protect their personal data and make conscious choices effectively.

Examples of Dark Patterns

Some common types of dark patterns include:

  • Emotional steering – You should avoid messaging like “Let us know what you are thinking about this” or “Share your geolocation to make the world a better place!”. 
  • Using “prompts that repeatedly appear” during a user’s experience – The EDPB suggests that this causes weariness, leading users to “give in” by accepting to provide more data or consent to another processing.
  • Preselecting less privacy-friendly options is also considered a dark pattern. Don’t pre-check the “by submitting my email, I agree to receive marketing materials” box.
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