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‘Dark Patterns’ Use Props Up Tech’s Power, FTC’s Slaughter Says (1)

April 29, 2021, 5:00 PMUpdated: April 29, 2021, 7:30 PM

Tech companies are bolstering their power by using “dark patterns” in web and app design to collect consumer data, the acting head of the Federal Trade Commission suggested in remarks during an online workshop.

“We increasingly see companies using dark patterns to manipulate people into giving up their data,” Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said.

Dark patterns are designs that make it difficult for consumers to control use of their data or influence them in other ways, like encouraging online shoppers to make purchases. Slaughter tied information-gathering practices to market power, saying “data is currency” in the digital economy.

The FTC event ...