Submission to ACCC: Digital Platform Services Inquiry on social media services

CPRC supports ACCC’s consideration of the impacts of social media services on Australian consumers as part of its digital platform services inquiry. Entities that profit from social media need to have adequate obligations and expectations placed on them, given the significant use of social media by Australian consumers.

CPRC’s research into dark patterns (also known as deceptive and manipulative designs) identified social media platforms as one of the top five sectors where consumers experience dark patterns. Our research found 83% of Australians have experienced negative consequences as a result of dark patterns that are aimed at influencing their behaviour. Australians have lost money, lost control of their data or have been manipulated by a business to make a choice that was not in their interest. Social media is a sector that is attributing to these harms.

In this submission, the CPRC notes the prevalent use of social media and the impact of dark patterns on younger consumers. It also covers the consumer impact related to disguised advertising and hyper-personalised advertising on social media. CPRC calls for systemic issues to be addressed such as the lack of regulation, lack of accountability on businesses, including influencers, and the lack of redress when things go wrong.


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