"Surely this UI annoyance is just an accident / bad design / corner case, not a dark patter!"

Hanlon's razor is a useful tool, but before calling suspicions of malice a conspiracy theory, remember the 2017 Nobel in Economics was awarded for describing and formalizing the mechanisms underpinning many of UI dark patterns. "Choice Architecture" is an established field now.

So the next time an app seems to you towards sharing too much data, leave the razor in your pocket and reach for Hanlon's handgun.


Courtesy of and it's "feature" of starting chats without giving away your address book. It *technically* exists, except apparently the only way to do it is to format an URL like wa.me/[actual-number-goes-here] and somehow get it into Android's activity system to be picked up by the app (or whatever the iOS equivalent of that is).

Surely they just *forgot* to add a "Start chat" dialog with a phone number entry field.

I wouldn't even know you can do this if not for news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2.

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