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Why publishers need to stop using dark patterns

Julie Rubash, Chief Privacy Counsel
April 10, 2022

Dark patterns – or website designs that manipulate users into performing specific actions – are widespread these days. In fact, one recent study from Princeton examined 11,000 shopping websites and found 1,818 instances and 15 different types of dark patterns.

As this practice becomes more common, legislators are taking action. In 2020, the U.S. federal government introduced the Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction Act (the DETOUR Act). If enacted, the legislation would make dark patterns punishable under the FTC Act. Then, in 2021, California and Colorado signed consumer privacy laws that stated dark patterns were insufficient to meet the definition of “consent.” And, most recently, the French data protection authority, the CNIL, fined Google and Facebook $238 million for what regulators deemed to be confusing cookie consent experiences.

But to effectively serve the interests of privacy-conscious readers, publishers would be wise to get ahead of impending legislation. Be transparent in 2022: Steer clear of dark patterns and lead with trust and privacy instead.

Read the full article by Julie Rubash, Sourcepoint’s Chief Privacy Counsel, on AdExchanger to learn:

  • How to recognize dark patterns
  • The consequences of using them
  • Why publishers should steer clear 

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