Dark patterns' are defined as 'tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn't mean to, like buying or signing up for something.' The term describes 'deceptive' and 'manipulative' techniques implemented when designing an app, website, or platform to change a user's behaviour in a way that would not have happened without the dark pattern. Yet much of the academic scholarship on the regulation of manipulative design has focused on privacy and data protection legislation. This article identifies seventeen common types of 'dark patterns'. It facilitates critical, legal, and regulatory dialogue by proposing a new taxonomy consistent with the relative provisions of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD). Critical analysis of three respected dark patterns taxonomies provides the basis of analysis of the protections provided to consumers by the UCPD. This approach focuses on the category of dark patterns we refer to as relying on 'Information Asymmetry' and an analysis of practices we identify as causing 'Free Choice Repression.' The article closes with policy recommendations to improve the regulation of dark patterns for commercial purposes.
Illuminating Manipulative Design: From "Dark Patterns" to Information Asymmetry and the Repression of Free Choice Under the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive,
Loy. Consumer L. Rev.
Available at: https://lawecommons.luc.edu/lclr/vol34/iss3/6