The 'Fuck You' Pattern v2

So, you've got a link to a shiny new post from a friend of yours on Instagram. You go there because the alternative is to hassle them for a copy, and it can't be that bad you say to yourself.

A short story about 'dark patterns' and Instagram from when I wanted to check on a post made by a friend of mine. Inspired by another blogpost that exploded on HN.

So, you've got a link to a shiny new post from a friend of yours on Instagram. You go there because the alternative is to hassle them for a copy, and it can't be that bad you say to yourself.

As per usual on the web nowadays you're presented with a cookie consent box locking you out. As a machine you click thru the menu's to try and disable as much as possible but you're only presented with one choice - send data to third parties or not. Okay, that's a bit annoying. Let's read the privacy policy for good measure, it's probably not going to tell us much; we're talking about Facebook after all.

When you arrive at the privacy policy the cookie modal stares back at you again. In frustration you try all the buttons (except for 'agree' obviously) to no avail. It is asking you to accept the agreement, to read the agreement.

Defeated, you click on agree.

Since they made it a hassle, let's make it a bit of a hassle for them in return and ask for the data to be deleted. So you collect the identifiers from local storage and start looking for the DPO contact, at least that should be easy to find. But oh no.

When you finally find the link to the form, which is on facebook.com you're once more presented with a new cookie modal...with the same behavior. Yet, you don't allow yourself to be defeated so easily. Forcibly agreeing once more to the data collection, you proceed and send them an angry message.

Some time passes.

Ding. Thunderbird has a new message from the Facebook DPO. It looks suspicously short - it's a link back to where you started your journey.

This has partially been fixed. The terms of service and privacy policy aren't hidden behind a cookie consent wall anymore. At least not on Instagram. Although this problem persisted for months. Contacting the DPO is not easier either. It's probably purposfully designed in such a way to tire people that try to contact them by sending automated messages with a delay to make it seem human and to defeat the short attention span most of us have.