Facebook makes a mockery out of Europe's new privacy law


Europe's GDPR requires companies like Facebook to ask permission before using your personal data or applying face recognition to your pictures. Facebook is making changes to comply, which it will roll out globally.

Now Facebook is pretending to ask permission with a dialog box that requests permission and offers an "Accept and continue" button, but no button to decline. The word "continue" is designed to make user's think that continuing to use Facebook requires the "Accept" part. 

Instead of the option to "Decline," the dialog offers a "manage data settings" button, which puts up another barrier to opting out. If you click that button again — the same option you have already selected — only then can you choose to opt out. 

This is classic "dark patterns" design, which is to use interface design to trick users into doing what's in the company's interest, but not the user's. 

That's not the end of it. If you do opt out, Facebook will come back later to try to convince you to opt back in. 

"Dark patterns" is an example of how companies use and cultivate user ignorance as a necessary part of their business model.