Shedding Light on Dark Patterns: What Financial Institutions Need to Know

Cybersecurity Law Report
10 minute read | July.21.2021

Regulators, legislators and private litigants are increasingly looking at how companies attract and conduct business with consumers in online settings, and particularly whether these companies are designing user experiences to manipulate behavior in a way that can prove harmful to the consumer. The inquiry into these so-called “dark patterns” is intensifying, and financial institutions should focus their attention on the potential risks of the online experience they are creating for their customers.

The Federal Trade Commission has pursued enforcement actions involving dark patterns for years, and during a recent public workshop, invited participants to discuss “a range of potentially manipulative user interface designs used on websites and mobile apps.” Two members of Congress said at the workshop that they intended to re-introduce legislation in the Senate and House that would empower the FTC to further address the harms arising from them. Several states are also exploring legislation that would target dark patterns.

Originally published in Cybersecurity Law Report; reprinted with permission.