US senators introduce consumer protection bill News
US senators introduce consumer protection bill

US Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) on Tuesday introduced a bill to protect consumers from exploitative and deceptive practices by certain large online platforms that trick consumers into providing their personal data for commercial exploitation.

The practices are referred to as “dark patterns” because they are created using extensive behavioral psychology research to intentionally manipulate users into agreeing to terms they otherwise would not. Such practices include pre-checked boxes, default settings, and misleading prompts to “just click ‘OK’.”

The bill will make it illegal for large online platforms “to design, modify, or manipulate a user interface with the purpose or substantial effect of obscuring, subverting, or impairing user autonomy, decision-making, or choice to obtain consent or user data.” It also includes a provision to prohibit targeting persons under 13 years of age with the intent of “cultivating substantial usage” from that person.

Online operators that would be subject to the restrictions include those with over 100 million authenticated users during any 30-day period. Facebook is one of the main targets for this bill.