Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Advertising Standards Council of India is looking at more areas of advertising that is manipulating consumers. A new category called ‘dark patterns’ has been reported by the ad regulator. The watchdog is looking to extend its code on misleading ads to include dark patterns by early next year.

The term ‘Dark Patterns’ was coined by user experience designer Harry Brignull in 2010. A dark pattern is a user interface that has been crafted to trick or manipulate users into making choices detrimental to their interest. Users are tricked into buying more expensive products, paying more than initially disclosed or sharing data.

There a thirteen types of dark pattern in general which are considered manipulated:

1. Disguised ads

2. Confirmshaming

3. Bait & Switch

4. Hidden costs

5. Friend spam

6. Forced continuity

7. Misdirection

8. Roach motel

9. Privacy Zuckering

10. Fear OMissing Out

11. Sneak into basket

12. Trick questions

13. Price comparison prevention

ASCI has identified four different types of dark advertising patterns. Drip pricing, bait and switch, false urgency and deceptive advertising are the proposed areas of extension to the ASCI code on misleading ads. Disguised advertising is a pattern when an advertisement mimics editorial content.

The ad regulator said that dark pattern are witnessed in ads by e-commerce platforms, social commerce companies, in-app advertising and posts by influencers. It said that 29 percent of ads processed by ASCI in 2021-22 pertained to disguised ads by influencers, which is a kind of dark pattern. Manisha Kapoor added that since the issue of influencer advertising guidelines the awareness and compliance has increased. However, there are categories like personal care, financial where there are misleading ads by influencers.

According to ASCI, 29 percent of ads processed by ASCI in 2021-22 pertained to disguised ads by influencers. More number of misleading ads are seen on digital versus TV and print. While there are 50 percent misleading ads on digital, TV has only 2-3 percent such ads.

ASCI chief executive said that dark pattern is a new category in misleading ads and these kind of ads will attract same penalties as misleading ads. ASCI formed a task force including NS Rajan, Founder Augustone Partners and Manisha Kapoor, CEO, ASCI. The ad watchdog has invited comments from public and other stakeholders on dark patterns till December 31.

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