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Willing to dig further on dark patterns? Here are curated resources, including hundreds of publications we analyzed in our R&D Lab, conferences, webinars and job opportunities to fight dark patterns.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is a legislation in the EU that applies to all digital service providers. It prohibits the use of dark patterns to deceive or bias users and requires platforms used by minors to have high levels of privacy and security. The DSA also prohibits designing online interfaces to manipulate or impair users' decision-making.

Commission influencer social media “sweep” investigation

The EU Commission and consumer protection authorities screened social media posts from 576 influencers to verify compliance with EU consumer law regarding advertising disclosure. Findings revealed that while 97% posted commercial content, only 20% consistently disclosed it as advertising. Other findings included 30% of influencers not providing any company details on their posts, and 38% not using platform labels that serve to disclose commercial content. The sweep resulted in 358 influencers being earmarked for further investigation. The Commission will also analyze the results of the sweep in light of the legal obligations of the platforms under the Digital Services Act (DSA) and take necessary enforcement action where appropriate.

EU Commission Fines Apple for music streaming rules

The EU Commission fined Apple over €1.8 billion for abusing its dominant position in the distribution of music streaming apps to iOS users through its App Store. Apple's restrictions on app developers, which prevented them from informing users about alternative, cheaper music subscription services, were deemed illegal under EU antitrust rules. This lack of consumer choice and comparison led to increased prices and violated the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The Artificial Intelligence Act, one of the world's first binding pieces of legislation on AI, focuses on ethical use, prohibiting the use of dark patterns within AI systems. It aims to ensure AI systems do not exploit user vulnerabilities, balancing technological innovation and consumer protection. The regulation is still subject to a final lawyer-linguist check before it is formally endorsed by the Council.

EU Commission DSA proceedings against TikTok

The European Commission has initiated formal proceedings against TikTok to assess potential breaches of the Digital Services Act (DSA). The investigation focuses on areas such as the protection of minors, advertising transparency, data access for researchers, and risk management of addictive design and harmful content. Specifically, TikTok's compliance with DSA obligations related to the assessment and mitigation of negative effects from its system design, including algorithmic systems that may stimulate behavioral addictions, is being examined. The investigation also includes an evaluation of TikTok's age verification tools and their effectiveness in preventing access by minors to inappropriate content. Additionally, the Commission is assessing whether TikTok has implemented appropriate measures to ensure privacy, safety, and security for minors, particularly in relation to default privacy settings.

EU investigation into X (formerly Twitter) for dark patterns

European Commission Launches Digital Services Act Investigation Against X (formerly Twitter) The European Commission has kicked off a formal investigation under the Digital Services Act (DSA) against X. This probe covers various grounds, including risk management, content moderation, dark patterns, advertising transparency, and data access for researchers. Specifically focusing on dark patterns: 1. Information Manipulation Check: The Commission is looking into whether X's “Community Notes” system effectively combats information manipulation in the EU, especially in safeguarding civic discourse and electoral processes. 2. Transparency in Question: The investigation questions the transparency measures taken by X, highlighting potential shortcomings in providing researchers access to public data and concerns with X's ads repository. 3. Deceptive Design Alert: Suspicions about a deceptive design in X's user interface, particularly related to Blue checks on subscription products, are under scrutiny. This marks the first formal action by the Commission to enforce the DSA, a mere three years after its proposal, indicating a swift move towards ensuring online platforms operate responsibly. Stay tuned for updates on this evolving investigation.

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