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Dark Patterns’ In Online Advertisements UPSC NOTE


  • Concerned over the increasing “dark patterns” of 

    • misleading advertisements, 

    • creating false urgency, 

    • confirm-shaming, 

    • forced action, 

    • subscription traps and nagging on online platforms

  • The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry has decided to issue specific guidelines to control them.

  • The Ministry, urged consumers to flag such manipulative online practices on the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) by calling ‘1915’ or through a WhatsApp message to 8800001915. 


Dark Patterns’ In Online Advertisements

  • The ministry asked online platforms to refrain from adopting ‘dark patterns’.

  • ‘Dark patterns’ distort consumer autonomy using a design architecture that tricks or influences consumers to make choices not in their best interest.

  • Tactics such as false urgency which creates a sense of scarcity to pressure consumers into making a purchase or taking an action and basket sneaking, the technique to add additional products or services to the shopping cart without user consent, are used widely to lure customers.

  • Subscription traps, the tactic that makes it easy for consumers to sign up for a service but difficult for them to cancel it, and hiding additional costs, particularly by travel and tourism websites, have also come under the Ministry’s radar.

  • Using ‘dark patterns’ in online interfaces unfairly exploits consumers’ interest and constitutes ‘unfair trade practice’.

  • It violate consumer rights as enshrined under Section 2(9) of the Consumer Protection Act.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Dark Patterns’ In Online Advertisements UPSC NOTE
Dark Patterns’ In Online Advertisements UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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