Big Tech Companies Under Serious Allegations: HumSub.TV

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Big Tech Companies Under Serious Allegations

Big Tech Companies Under Serious Allegations: Facebook, Google and Microsoft are allegedly accused of using dark patterns to trigger people to share their personal data.

According to a Norwegian Consumer Council report issued on 27th June revealing that how some big tech companies are using default settings, dark patterns and features of an interface to “nudge” their users and manipulate them to share their private data on these platforms. The report also accused Microsoft’s Windows 10 to do the same thing but to a lesser extent.

“Dark patterns” are designs and user interfaces that are specifically crafted to manipulate and trick users into buying, signing up, or forcing to take an action they did not intend to. The NCC report, titled “Deceived By Design,” explains just how these dark patterns are being implemented by internet companies to extract users personal information.

Big Tech Companies Under Serious Allegations
Big Tech Companies Under Serious Allegations

The report also said Facebook, Google and Windows 10 use “misleading wording” and are offering “take-it-or-leave-it choices, and choice architectures where choosing the privacy-friendly option requires more effort for the users.”

On the other hand, Facebook users who wanted to turn off a facial recognition feature are triggered with a warning saying “if you keep face recognition turned off, we won’t be able to use this technology if a stranger uses your photo to impersonate you.” The report said that this wording manipulates and nudges the users to make a decision making them feel like the second option is “ethically questionable or risky.”

Facebook and Google have privacy intrusive defaults, where users who want the privacy friendly option have to go through a significantly longer process. They even obscure some of these settings so that the user cannot know that the more privacy intrusive option was preselected.

Big Tech Companies Under Serious Allegations
Big Tech Companies Under Serious Allegations

The GDPR set tings from Facebook, Google and Windows 10 provide users with granular choices regarding the collection and use of personal data.

The Norwegian Consumer Council is an interest organization for consumers funded by the Norwegian government. Part of our work is to promote consumer rights such as privacy, security and balanced contracts in digital products and services

NCC have published reports on how mobile apps fail to respect consumer rights, and how connected devices such as toys lack basic security and privacy protective measures.

NCC look at user settings updates in three digital services that relate to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In May 2018, European service providers confronted consumers with a wide array of GDPR updates. Amongst these services, users of Facebook, Google’s services and Windows 10 had to click through and approve update messages as part of the companies’ attempt to comply with the GDPR.

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