The European Data Protection Council (EDPB), which monitors privacy in the European Union, has adopted a number of recommendations to limit violations of “dark patterns” in social networks.
“Dark patterns” is a technique used by designers to force site users to perform desired actions. For example, providing privacy options for web cookies, while one of the options is more vivid and formulated more positively.
The EDPB’s task is to offer practical recommendations to designers and users of social networks on evaluating and avoiding “dark patterns” in various interfaces, especially when misleading design contradicts strict EU privacy rules, namely GDPR.
According to the EDPB, “dark patterns” can “force users to make unintended, undesirable and potentially dangerous decisions regarding the processing of their personal data.”
Since the design works against the interests of users, it is unlikely for an ordinary person to make the most suitable choice for him.
“The manual provides specific examples of the types of dark patterns, presents best practices for various use cases, and also contains specific recommendations for developers of user interfaces that contribute to the effective implementation of GDPR,” says EDPB.
Several US states, in particular California and Washington, have added provisions on the use of “dark patterns” to their privacy bills.
The abuse of “dark patterns” can range from annoying to downright dangerous. In some cases, the “pattern” may cause the user to skip the “x” on pop-up ads, and in others, users enter into agreements for services that they considered free.