How Facebook and Google nudge users to make anti-privacy choices


Zeljka Zorz, Managing EditorJune 28, 2018

How Facebook and Google nudge users to make anti-privacy choices

Facebook, Google and Microsoft use design techniques and tricks to steer users toward sharing more information about themselves to benefit those businesses, the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) has shown.

Among these so-called “dark patterns” are anti-privacy default settings, confusing layouts, illusions of choice, and design choices (positioning, visual cues, etc.).

anti-privacy dark patterns
Privacy intrusive defaults

“Facebook and Google have privacy intrusive defaults, where users who want the privacy friendly option have to go through a significantly longer process. They even obscure some of these settings so that the user cannot know that the more privacy intrusive option was preselected,” the NCC noted.

“The popups from Facebook, Google and Windows 10 have design, symbols and wording that nudge users away from the privacy friendly choices. Choices are worded to compel users to make certain choices, while key information is omitted or downplayed. None of them lets the user freely postpone decisions. Also, Facebook and Google threaten users with loss of functionality or deletion of the user account if the user does not choose the privacy intrusive option.”

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