On April 29, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a virtual public workshop to examine the nature and effects of “dark patterns” on online user behavior. “Bringing Dark Patterns to Light: An FTC Workshop” is expected to explore ways in which user interfaces can have the effect, intentionally or unintentionally, of obscuring, subverting, or impairing consumer autonomy, decision-making, or choice.

Topics include:

  • How dark patterns differ from sales tactics employed by brick-and-mortar stores
  • How they affect consumer behavior, including potential harms
  • Whether some groups of consumers are unfairly targeted or are especially vulnerable
  • What laws, rules, and norms regulate the use of dark patterns
  • Whether additional rules, standards, or enforcement efforts are needed to protect consumers

Suggestions for discussion topics and requests for panelists should be sent to [email protected] by March 15, 2021.

The FTC will be publishing a formal request for comments on dark patterns soon . Comments must be submitted by June 29, 2021 to [email protected].

As we indicated in an earlier post, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is planning to hold a webinar on March 2, 2021 to explore how the use of Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in consumer products potentially affects consumer product safety.