Coalition launches ‘Dark Patterns’ advice line to expose misleading technology design

San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has joined Consumer Reports, Access Now, PEN America and to launch the “Dark Patterns Tip Line” – a project allowing the public to submit examples of deceptive design patterns that they see in technology products and services.

“Dark pattern” design tactics are used to trick people into doing all sorts of things they don’t want to do, from signing up for an email list to submitting to recurring billing. Examples encountered by users every day include hard-to-close windows prompting you to enter your email address on a news site, email unsubscribes on shopping sites in hard-to-find places in a hard-to-read text and pre-checked boxes authorizing ongoing charges.

“Your submissions to the Dark Patterns Tip Line will help provide a clearer picture of people’s struggles with deceptive interfaces. We hope to collect and document the harms of dark patterns and demonstrate how companies try to manipulate us all with their apps. and their websites,” said EFF designer Shirin Mori. “Then we can offer people tips for spotting dark patterns and fighting back.”

If you see a dark pattern, go to, hosted by Consumer Reports. Next, click “submit design” and enter the name and type of business responsible, a brief description of the misleading design, and where you found it. You can also include a screenshot. Submission to the Dark Patterns Tip Line requires that you agree to Consumer Reports’ Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. The Dark Patterns Tip Line site has special limitations on Consumer Reports’ use of your email, and the site does not use cookies or web tracking.

“If we want to stop dark patterns on the internet and beyond, we must first assess what’s out there and then use those examples to influence policy makers and lawmakers,” Mori said. “We hope the Dark Patterns Tip Line will help us move toward more fair, equitable, and accessible technology products and services for everyone.”

For the Dark Patterns Tip Line, hosted by Consumer Reports:

Abdul J. Gaspar