The ‘Fuck You’ Pattern

June 28, 2021

In the software industry, there is a term for intentional designs which coerce the user into doing something, be it consciously or subconsciously – a ‘dark pattern’. These patterns are employed by social media networks, e-commerce, video games, and many more places.

I’m coining a new term called the ‘Fuck You’ pattern currently employed by Instagram.

I like cats, and there’s a popular Internet meme called ‘Polite Cat’ otherwise known as Ollie. I wanted to browse some pictures of Ollie anonymously on Instagram today, but to my dismay, Instagram would force me to login 5 seconds after navigating to Ollie’s Instagram page. Unless I’m part of an A/B test, you can give this a try and should get the same behaviour on desktop.

Since I’m a technical person, I tried to simply remove the modal in the browser Inspector. It sort of worked, but I wasn’t able to scroll any further on the page. After a few attempts, I could no longer even see Ollie’s page. I was immediately redirected to the login page every time I tried to access it.

I was not sure why this happened. Did Instagram catch me trying to bypass their login modal? Was I blocked for trying to load the page too often? One thing I knew is that it was at the IP layer because I could no longer access the page on any browser.

I tried accessing the page on my phone whilst disconnected from my wireless network, and sure enough it worked. Until I refreshed three times.

Instagram, and by extension Facebook, fuck you!

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