OPSC Prelims-2022, GS: Answer Key - Download

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Prevention and Regulation of dark patterns

Syllabus- Economy [GS Paper-3]

Context- The Central Board of Consumer Protection (TAK) has published a guide on “prevention and regulation” of dark patterns.

Key Highlights

  • In 2019, the CCPA promulgated Guidelines for the Prevention and Regulation of Dark Patterns in 2023 under Section 18 of the Consumer Protection Act. 
  • The guidelines apply to all platforms that systematically offer products or services by advertisers and sellers in India.
  • There are 13 defined dark patterns in the guide. 
  • They are: false urgency; basket sliding; confirm shame; coercive action; order trap; user interface errors; bait and switch; price drop; hidden advertising; to chew trick question; Saas billing; and criminal malware. 

Dark patterns 

  • Dark patterns are tactics used by online platforms to deceive customers and prevent them from making the right choices.  
  • The guidelines define dark designs as “any practice or deceptive design that uses a user interface or user experience interaction on any platform that is intended to direct or entice users to do something they did not originally intend or want to do, undermining or undermining the consumer’s independence, judgment, or a choice that results in misleading advertising or an unfair trade practice or violation of consumer rights.” 

Defined dark patterns 

  • False Urgency: This refers to misrepresenting or implying a sense of urgency or lack thereof to trick the user into making an immediate purchase. 
  • Cart hiding: This means including additional items such as products, services, charity payments  or a platform donation in the  checkout  without the user’s consent. 
  • Asserting shame: This means using a sentence, video, sound or any other means to create a feeling of fear, shame, ridicule or guilt in the  user in order to force the user to act in a certain way, which will lead the user to buy a product or service from the platform or continue to subscribe to the service.  
  • Subscription Trap: This is the process of making it difficult or difficult to cancel a paid subscription and takes a long time; or hide the unsubscribe option. 
  • User interface: This refers to a design element that manipulates the user interface in this way that
    • Emphasize certain specific information; and 
    • Includes other related information in relation to  other information; trick the user into taking the desired action. 
  • Bait and Switch: This refers to the practice of promoting a certain outcome based on user action, but mistakenly offering an alternative outcome. 
  • Drip pricing: This refers to the practice where; 
    • Some prices are not revealed up front or are revealed in a hidden user experience. 
    • Price disclosure after purchase confirmation, 
    • A product or service is advertised for free without proper notification that continued use requires an in-app purchase; 
    • The user is prohibited from using a service that has already been paid for, unless something else is purchased.  
  • Nagging: This refers to the dark formula of harassing and irritating the user through repeated and constant communication in the form of requests, information, choices or interruptions to complete a transaction and gain business benefits. 
  • SaaS Billing: This refers to repeatedly generating and collecting payments from consumers  in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model, using positive procurement chains in recurring orders to collect money from users as quietly as possible. 
  • Fraudulent malware: This refers to the use of ransomware or scareware to trick or deceive users into believing that their computer has a virus  to get them to pay for a fake malware removal tool that actually installs malware on their computer.

Source: Indian Express

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