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Fake News and Media Literacy

Resources and strategies for becoming media literate.

Media Literacy Skill: Recognizing Advertisements


Recognizing Advertisements

When you click and view online material your actions are tracked by the companies that own the sites.  Your preferences are sold to advertisers so they can target you directly with their ads.  Native advertising has become the prevalent form of online advertising. Because native ads imitate the style of the websites that host them, you may have difficulty distinguishing them from other content.  And even when native ads seem to present objective and useful information, you need to remember that their main purpose is to sell you a product or an idea.  To identify native advertisements, look for Ad Choice buttons and for these labels (and others):

  • Sponsored Content
  • Sponsor-Generated Content
  • Paid Post
  • Suggested Post
  • Brand Studio
  • Brand Voice

Some examples of native advertisements shared in the Civic Online Reasoning curriculum:


Learn more about recognizing advertisements:


Crash Course. (2018, April 3). Influence & persuasion: Crash Course Media Literacy #6.  [Video]. YouTube.