Dark patterns are user interface design choices that benefit an online service by coercing, steering, or deceiving users into making unintended and potentially harmful decisions. We conducted a large-scale study, analyzing ~53K product pages from ~11K shopping websites to characterize and quantify the prevalence of dark patterns.
- We discovered 1,818 instances of dark patterns on shopping websites, which together represent 15 types of dark patterns.
- These 1,818 dark patterns were present on 1,254 of the ∼11K shopping websites (∼11.1%) in our data set. Shopping websites that were more popular, according to Alexa rankings, were more likely to feature dark patterns.
- We demonstrate which of the dark patterns that we discovered rely on consumer deception. In total, we uncovered 234 instances of deceptive dark patterns across 183 websites.
- We identify 22 third-party entities that provide shopping websites with the ability to create dark patterns on their sites. Two of these entities openly advertise practices that enable deceptive messages.