Attentional Roach Motel

The Attentional Roach Motel is a pattern used by digital services to make it difficult for users to cancel their accounts or log out. It is designed to keep users on the service by making account settings difficult to find and access. This pattern is most commonly observed in social media platforms, where users may find it challenging to delete their accounts or hide available settings. The term “roach motel” is used to describe this pattern because it is similar to the way in which cockroaches are trapped and unable to escape.

Example: Facebook

Deactivating or deleting a Facebook account is an overwhelming and extensive process that requires 1) searching for the settings, 2) finding the ‘Deactivation’ tab (included in the ‘Your Facebook Information’ tab), 3) choosing between ‘Deactivating’ and ‘Permanently deleting’ the account, 4) entering the user’s password, 5) inserting a reason for deactivation/cancellation, and 6) skipping a final pop-up dialog suggesting to ‘log out’ instead of deactivating/canceling the account.