This week on Lock and Code, we speak to cybersecurity advocate and author Carey Parker about “dark patterns,” which are subtle tricks online to get you to make choices that might actually harm you.

Dark patterns have been around for years, and the tricks they’re based on are even older. Ever bought a pretty much useless concert ticket warranty? Ever paid for 12 months at a gym when you were really just interested in a trial membership? Ever been fooled in spending just a little more money than you planned?

Well, those tricks exist online, too, and they often show up in hidden, visual cues that make you think that one option is better for you than another. But, lo and behold, the option that looks appealing to you might actually be the option that best serves a company. You could be tricked into staying into a newsletter subscription. You could find it exceedingly difficult to delete an account entirely. And you may be signing away your data privacy protections without even knowing it.

But, as Parker helps explain in today’s episode, even those lowered privacy protections are a means of making money for some of today’s largest social media companies:

“They want to know as much about you, they want to know about everyone you know, so they use dark patterns to trick you into providing way more personal data than any sane human would ever want to provide. And that’s how they make more money.”

Tune in to learn about dark patterns—how to spot them, what any future fixes might look like, and what one company is doing to support you—on the latest episode of Lock and Code, with host David Ruiz.

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