Project Description

The Dark Pattern Detection Project (Dapde) investigates the steering of consumer decisions in digital environments.

Dark Patterns in Practice

Consumers come regularly, many several times a day, into situations in which they make decisions online, in particular buying products, requesting services, or giving their consent to data processing.

Providers of digital services often design user interfaces to steer consumers in a certain direction. Examples are default settings of input options, countdowns to time-limit decisions, references to (supposed) scarcity and the (supposed) behavior of other users, color and other graphic designs of user interfaces, and certain ways of presenting questions and information. All of these are dark patterns.

Objectives of Dapde

Consumers are facing dark patterns rather helplessly. The law does not offer effective protection and there are no technical possibilities, such as ad blockers, for dark patterns.

The Dark Pattern Detection Project comprehensively illuminates this blind spot. It develops methods of automated detection of dark patterns as the basis of a "Dark Pattern Detection App". The "Dark Pattern Detection App" uses AI-based text analysis to recognize dark patterns and redesigns them - prospectively - in a personalized manner for the respective consumer. In addition, Dapde develops legal responses to dark patterns to enhance consumer protection.

On this website, Dapde informs in detail about its findings and creates a portal that collects dark patterns, shows examples, and educates about them. We will provide the Dark Pattern Detection App as open-source software for different platforms on this website.