FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RC172F69CDF0

Facebook and Google use dozens of clicks and tricks to dodge data rules

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Facebook and Google are sticking to new data privacy regulations, but that doesn’t mean they have to make the options easy for users.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Dado Ruvic
FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RC172F69CDF0
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GDPR forces companies to let users control access to their data, but the Norwegian Consumer Council is calling out Google and Facebook for hiding “opt out” options.

FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RC172F69CDF0
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Specifically, the NCC points to Facebook and Google using visual tricks, coded language, and confusing UI to keep users tied in rather than opting out.

FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RC172F69CDF0
13 clicks

For Facebook, opting out of the system’s data collection takes at least 13 clicks or taps. Opting in takes one to four.

FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RC172F69CDF0
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Google’s not so different. Its complicated “My Activity” hub includes dozens of pages of options for managing web, location, and privacy data settings.

FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RC172F69CDF0
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The circumvention isn’t really new. Dark patterns are widely used by just about any business to push certain services and products.

FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RC172F69CDF0
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The misdirection can be seen virtually everywhere: Online stores grey out low prices, booking sites hide links to cheaper flights, and apps say features “won’t be available” if you opt out.

FILE PHOTO: A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Samsung S4 smartphone in this photo illustration August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo - RC172F69CDF0
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Left unchecked, dark patterns can even control news cycles and turn elections. That makes new data regulation—and fair play from tech giants—more critical than ever.

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