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Section II Reading Comprehension
Read the following four texts. Answer the questions after each text by choosing A, B, C or D. Mark your answers on the ANSWER SHEET. (40 points)
We have all encountered them, in both our personal and professional lives. Think about the times you felt tricked or frustrated by a membership or subscription that had a seamless sign-up process but was later difficult to cancel. Something that should be simple and transparent can be complicated, intentionally or unintentionally, in ways that impair consumer choice. These are examples of dark patterns.
First coined in 2010 by user experience expert Harry Brignull, “dark patterns" is a catch-all term for practices that manipulate user interfaces to influence the decision-making ability of users. Brignull identifies 12 types of common dark patterns, ranging from misdirection and hidden costs to “roach motel”, where a user experience seems easy and intuitive at the start, but turns difficult when the user tries to get out.
In a 2019 study of 53,000 product pages and 11,000 websites, researchers found that about one in 10 employs these design practices. Though widely prevalent, the concept of dark patterns is still not well understood. Business and nonproft leaders should be aware of dark patterns and try to avoid the gray areas they engender.
Lawmakers and regulators are slowly starting to address the ambiguity around dark patterns, most recently at the state level. In March, the California Attorney General announced the approval of additional regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that “ensure that consumers will not be confused or misled when seeking to exercise their data privacy rights.” The regulations aim to ban dark patterns- this means prohibiting companies from using "confusing language or unnecessary steps such as forcing them to click through multiple screens or listen to reasons why they shouldn’t opt out.”