San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has joined Consumer Reports, Access Now, PEN America, and in launching the “Dark Patterns Tip Line”—a project for the public to submit examples of deceptive design patterns they see in technology products and services.

“Dark patterns” design tactics are used to trick people into doing all kinds of things they don’t mean to, from signing up for a mailing list to submitting to recurring billing. Examples seen by users every day include hard-to-close windows urging you to enter your email address on a news site, email opt-outs on shopping sites in difficult-to-find locations in difficult-to-read text, and pre-checked boxes allowing ongoing charges.

“Your submissions to the Dark Patterns Tip Line will help provide a clearer picture of peoples’ struggles with deceptive interfaces. We hope to collect and document harms from dark patterns and demonstrate the ways companies are trying to manipulate all of us with their apps and websites,” said EFF Designer Shirin Mori. “Then we can offer people tips to spot dark patterns and fight back.”

If you see a dark pattern, head to, hosted by Consumer Reports. Then, click “submit a pattern,” and enter the name and type of company responsible, a short description of the misleading design, and where you found it. You can also include a screen shot. Submitting to the Dark Patterns Tip Line requires you to agree to the Consumer Reports’ user agreement and privacy policy. The Dark Patterns Tip Line site has some special limitations on Consumer Reports’ use of your email, and the site doesn’t use cookies or web tracking.

“If we want to stop dark patterns on the internet and beyond, we first have to assess what’s out there, and then use these examples to influence policymakers and lawmakers,” said Mori. “We hope the Dark Patterns Tip Line will help us move towards more fair, equitable, and accessible technology products and services for everyone.”

For the Dark Patterns Tip Line, hosted by Consumer Reports:


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