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Google claims it doesn't use "dark patterns" during Senate hearing

Google logo outside of an office
Photo: Olly Curtis/Future Publishing/Getty Images

One of the more striking parts of Tuesday's Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the ways tech companies manipulate users was a Google executive's insistence that the company doesn't employ "persuasive technologies," aka "dark patterns," on YouTube or anywhere else.

What they're saying: "Dark patterns and persuasive technologies [are] not core to how we design our products at Google," Google's Maggie Stanphill said, in response to a question from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Between the lines: To be clear, Google and YouTube do have any number of recommendation engines, autoplay options, etc., but Google doesn't consider any of those to meet the definition of persuasive technologies or dark patterns.

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