Deceptive design pattern (also known as “dark patterns”) – Advertising, marketing and branding


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A deceptive design pattern or dark pattern is a method used by companies to trick consumers into doing things they didn’t want to, or to make it harder to do what they intended to do. Examples include free trial subscriptions that ended up being expensive and automatically charged to credit cards; additional charges or items appearing when checking out online shopping carts; agree to undesirable conditions, etc.

In order to prevent customers in Singapore from being subjected to fraudulent or dishonest business tactics, the country will implement consumer protection measures, as evidenced by the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement signed between the two countries in June 2022. This may require the consumer protection review. (Fair Trading) Act 2003 to include black and white designs.

This will be a welcome step forward as the current Code of Advertising Practices as published by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore is entirely based on voluntary compliance.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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