Who is able to produce:

Professional – Amateur – Anyone.

Successful advertisement requires financial investment and often uses sophisticated techniques. Certain skills are needed to create the visual or audio content of the ad. There is many research data in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and data analysis. It’s important to note that with several free or paid advertisement making tools and easy to use social media advertisement and targeting platforms the process of making ads is becoming easier and more available to the broader audience.

Level of deception:

Low – Average – High – Very high.

Most ads are marked as sponsored content or placed in a way that lets the consumer know that the media is an advertisement. Some forms of advertising (native and influencer advertisement) are more challenging to recognise. Even when identified, claims, presented in ads, can be quite misleading. Laws on advertisement limit the level of manipulation; however, there are several different methods for attempting to deceive consumers that are not permitted under advertising law.

Advertising is a marketing tactic involving paying for space to promote a product, service, or cause. The actual promotional messages are called advertisements or ads for short. The goal of advertising is to reach people most likely to be willing to pay for a company’s products or services and entice them to buy.

Advertisements can be placed nearly anywhere, including roadside billboards, sides of buildings, websites, electronic newsletters, print newsletters, inside bills, product packaging, restaurant placemats, event bulletins, store windows, the sides of cars and trucks, subway car walls, airport kiosks, sporting arenas, YouTube videos and many more.

Working principle (what and how does it do):

Marketers and advertisers have a surplus of tools to help nudge, persuade and even influence a person’s buying habits. From the classics like data derived from demographic, geographic and ethnographic sources to more forward-thinking solutions like facial recognition, body language biometrics or microtargeting based on psychographic information (see for more info:

Advertisement can use deception by photobleaching (portray false and unobtainable results), omitting information, having hidden fees and surcharges, manipulation of measurement units and standards, fillers and oversized packaging, misleading health claims.

Ads can also exaggerate a product’s worth through the use of meaningless unsubstantiated terms, based on opinion rather than fact, and in some cases through the manipulation of data.


Microtargeting is a powerful advertising tool that allows aiming ads at specific groups of people, or even individuals, online. For example, it permits politicians to target very narrow groups of voters with tailored messages that have the potential to manipulate the political debate. Here’s how it works: Political campaigns create databases about voters that include information about whether a person is registered to vote, how often they vote, their party affiliation, their mailing address, their email address, and their phone number. They can then upload those voter files to Google and Facebook to find those people’s online profiles, and then advertise specifically to them (source:

Bait and switch

Bait and switch a sales tactic in which a customer is attracted by the advertisement of a low-priced item but is then encouraged to buy a higher-priced one. Or the ploy of offering a person something desirable to gain favour (such as political support) then thwarting expectations with something less desirable (source:

Native marketing

Native marketing is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear. The word “native” refers to this coherence of the content with the other media that appear on the platform. These ads that blend most easily into digital content and are harder to identify as ads (source:

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements made by people, organisations, and groups seen as influential or experts in a particular area (source:

Advertising aims to present a product in the best light possible. There is some leeway in the creative process. The problem arises when the dramatisation crosses the line into falsely representing a product.

Political advertising

Political advertising attempts to influence or comment upon a matter which is currently the subject of extensive Advertising aims to present a product in the best light possible. There is some leeway in the creative process. The problem arises when the dramatisation crosses the line into falsely representing a product.

Political debate (source:

Widespread concern exists about the potential effects that media portrayals of drinking, alcohol product placements and alcohol advertising may have on alcohol consumption and problems among young people. Television, radio, film, and popular music are often identified as potential sources through which young people learn about alcohol and as possible influences on young people’s drinking and drinking problems.


Checking method:

Facebook Political Ad Collector: This tool shows users the advertisements on their Facebook feeds and guesses which ones are political. It also shows users political advertisements aimed at other users. All political ads that are collected are put into a publicly available database.

Who Targets Me: This tool allows users to create an anonymous profile, then collect information about the political and other ads that they see, along with details about why they were targeted with those ads. The tool can provide users with statistics on who/what has been targeting them and uses this information to build a database of political advertising and targeting.

TV News Fact Check: The TV News Archive is an initiative developing an archive of digital media, ranging from web pages, books and texts, audio recordings, videos, images, and software programs. One of its projects, the “Political TV Ad Archive” is an archive of 2016 political ads combined with fact-checking from a variety of sources (e.g. Politifact,

Other disinformation types:


Satire: the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticise people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.


Deepfake is an AI-based technology used to produce or alter video content by editing faces (face-swapping or creating new face expressions).

Conspiracy Theory

A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful actors, often political in motivation when other explanations are more probable.…

Contact us

Phone: +370 525 97 247
This project is co-funded by the European Commission
under the preparatory action “Media Literacy for All 2018”.