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cookie monster

You know those cookie consent dialog boxes that now pop up on every website you visit since GDPR entered our world in 2018?

This week Nieman Lab’s Daniel Fitton described the rise of dark web design: the practice of creating user interfaces that are intentionally designed to trick or deceive the user”. Fitton states that cookie banners are the most obvious form of dark design in which it is very difficult for users to understand quite what to select to access a website without being tracked by that site.

You’ll notice how the accept all” button is large and cheerfully highlighted, attracting your cursor within a split second of your arrival on a website. Meanwhile, the dowdy, less prominent confirm choices” or manage settings” buttons — the ones through which we can protect our privacy — scare us away with more time-consuming clicks.

Fitton links to an absurd online game called Cookie Consent Speed Run that pushes cookie consent dark design to the nth degree. I tried it, and failed badly. Wow, the internet is so broken.

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