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Dark Patterns: FTC Sues Amazon

June 21, 2023EdgeTheory
Amazon faces a lawsuit by the FTC over its alleged use of deceptive designs, known as dark patterns, to enroll consumers in the Prime program, raising concerns about transparency and consumer protection.


The narrative surrounding Amazon's alleged use of deceptive designs, known as dark patterns, to trick consumers into enrolling in the Prime program has led to a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This article explores the key issues related to Amazon Prime, deceptive designs, dark patterns, the FTC lawsuit, and consumer enrollment.

Rolling Updates

Our Kudzu Narrative Intelligence brief auto-update every few hours with fresh analysis:

Headline Issues

1. Amazon Prime

  • Amazon Prime is the world's largest subscription program, generating $25 billion in revenue annually.
  • Subscribers enjoy perks such as faster shipping, access to movies, music, and television series.
  • The program charges an annual fee of $139 or a monthly fee of $14.99.

2. Deceptive Designs

  • Amazon has been accused of using deceptive designs, known as dark patterns, to deceive consumers.
  • Dark patterns are manipulative design elements tailored to trick consumers into making decisions they wouldn't have made with transparent presentation.
  • Specific instances include obscuring the option to purchase items without a Prime subscription.

3. Dark Patterns and the FTC Lawsuit

  • The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against Amazon, alleging deceptive designs in its Prime subscriptions.
  • The FTC accuses Amazon of a years-long effort to enroll consumers into the Prime program through dark patterns.
  • Amazon has been accused of sabotaging attempts to cancel subscriptions and making the cancellation process difficult.

4. Consumer Enrollment

  • Consumers who have been deceived by Amazon's dark patterns have unwittingly enrolled in Amazon Prime.
  • The FTC's lawsuit aims to address the alleged deceptive practices and protect consumers.
  • The issue of consumer enrollment raises questions about transparency and the need for clearer options for users.

Key Insights

  • The FTC lawsuit claims that Amazon has been using deceptive designs to enroll consumers in its Prime program without their full understanding.
  • The concept of dark patterns involves manipulative design elements that lead consumers to unintended decisions.
  • The FTC lawsuit highlights instances where Amazon has made it difficult for users to find the option to purchase items without a Prime subscription.
  • Amazon's leadership has faced criticism for allegedly impeding changes that would have made canceling Prime subscriptions easier.

These headline issues and key insights shed light on the ongoing dispute between Amazon and the FTC regarding deceptive designs, dark patterns, and consumer enrollment in the Prime program.

FTC Sues Amazon for Dark Patterns amplification distribution by keyword-dynamics

Insights for Bias in U.S. Media

A comparative analysis of media coverage across political leaning reveals notable numerical differences. Left-center sources account for 84 articles, more than double the number of least biased sources at 38. Right-center bias has 20 articles, while left and right biases have 16 and 11 articles, respectively. This indicates a significant predominance of left-leaning and left-center sources in the media landscape, highlighting the need for diverse perspectives to ensure balanced and comprehensive coverage.

FTC Sues Amazon for Dark Patterns amplification distribution by bias

Note: Kudzu Narrative Intelligence briefs update every few hours. Very likely, the Narrative Analysis data visualization depicted in the graphic above will have changed as well.

Image Credit: Article Header Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

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