Dark Patterns: The Ominous Side of the Marketing Sector

Preface: websites are using ‘ dark patterns ’, which is a conception that has just recently entered the digital language, to deceive you into taking conduct that you're ignorant of taking. This includes choosing unwanted services which you were ignorant of while concluding it or creating a space where it deters you from leaving or kill that service


 Dark patterns have turned into a marketing minatory which has developed itself to be present in every corner of the social networking spots for illustration, people scrolling on their Instagram and coming across announcements which they were looking for or indeed thing about it. 

 For illustration utmost websites show cookie concurrence pop- ups which asks you to accept it to move forward on their website. still, if one doesn't want to accept it there's another option of removing cookie by homemade setting which utmost of the people do n’t conclude it due to lack of time or desire to so similar lengthy process for just one website and they accept the eyefuls of the website intentionally for what the cookie was accepted as utmost companies calculate on stoner data and do n’t want it to be easy for their druggies to fluently deny it                     


In simple words, dark patterns are a malicious interface technique which is crafted in a way to manipulate or trick users to make choices that are adverse of their interests. These dark patterns are made with the concept of human psychology which is good for attracting consumers and has become a common element for web malpractice. This pattern has also been used by big brands to attract more consumers/users online. Being ethical or unethical is totally subjective based upon the represented connection between the company and the consumer as marketing doesn’t have any steadfast rules. In short, for every marketing company everything tends to be ethical unless it is harmful for their consumers. The most common three types of patterns which are used:


It has been frequently observed that various social media sites have made a common practice of showing pop up notifications on smart phones but when users check the notification there is no such activity. In fact, there has been certain instances where social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Snapchats tends to email you or shows red dots on their applications so that the users could log in to their devices to see notifications or spend an amount of time in those sites so that the developers are benefitted with it.


Making it harder for customers to compare prices, especially by hiding charges, is one of the most disagreeable and occasionally aggressive dark patterns organizations may apply. The holiday rentals, Juggernaut Airbnb, uses a slight variation of this frightening pattern when displaying fees for listings on their service. When search results are provided, the daily tariff for each hotel is prominently displayed. However, the daily pricing does not include any other costs, such as cleaning charges or Airbnb's service charge. When a user chooses dates for their stay, the business does show a total pricing, but they must click to view a breakdown of the additional costs charged.


The concept of dark patterns was coined by London based – UX Designer Harry Brignull in the year 2010 who has now acquired a common place status in digital marketing and advertising industry. Although most consumers are unaware of the exploitative and deceptive nature of UI/UX interfaces used in digital marketing and advertising.

Indian Context

The Indian law does not directly talk about the data prevention laws instead contains certain provisions such as in IT Act, 2000 and Indian Penal Code, 1860. However, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has picked up a twelve-member task force which will examine certain dark patterns used in the Indian marketing sector to misguide users.

ASCI has called upon for more transparency in social media advertisements for the users to make a better decision as these media advertisements have dark patterns which affects the consumer decisions. As per the report 29% of the advertisements have found to be disguised advertisements by influencers in the year 2021-22 and in which cryptocurrency has topped the list followed by fashion, finance and food & beverages. Before the extension of code, the ASCI has invited certain stakeholders for their inputs in the code.


Dark patterns are not a new term rather a common practice in different forms. Various countries have implemented strong laws to tackle these kinds for maintaining transparency in marketing sectors, however, India is yet to see such laws as its high time for the country bring upon certain provisions for tackling these activities which have reached its heights since the pandemic as users have experienced the most fraud cases in such period itself. These have been multiple committees formed but it has not reached to the conclusion to reach the outset of data protection laws in India