The three types of dark patterns the “sweep” screening especially focussed on are:

(1) fake countdown timers,
(2) interfaces designed to guide consumers towards certain choices, and
(3) hidden information.

After conducting the screening, the CPC Network found that 148 out of 399 websites resorted to at least one of the aforementioned tactics. Additionally, the “sweep” screening showed that:

(1) 42 online stores have fake countdown timers,
(2) 52 online stores manipulate consumer choice via their websites’ architecture, and
(3) 70 online stores withhold important information from the consumers.

As a result, national consumer protection authorities, including the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (for which research into web shops is one of the focus points for 2023 and which also conducts an investigation into unauthorised manipulative tactics by web shops in 2023), will take further actions to correct the consumer-unfriendly behaviour of these online businesses.