Project Media Coverage

This page provides media coverage related to the Australian Ad Observatory project.
To join the project visit the main Australian Ad Observatory project page.

ABC Logo

17 April 2024 | ABC News 

Scammers are using a fake, AI-generated Dr Karl to sell health pills to Australians

As fake endorsements blur the line between fact and fiction, the big tech companies that accept advertising money from the scammers are under increasing pressure to take action.

University of Melbourne Pursuit logo

6 February 2024 | The Pursuit

The Facebook trick online gambling is using to target Australians

New research has found some overseas online casinos are illegally targeting Australians using Facebook ads – and it’s a big problem.

18 January 2024 | AdNews

AANA releases draft code to fight greenwashing

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has released an draft of a new Environmental Claims Code, following an extensive public review.

University of Melbourne logo

2 January 2024 | University of Melbourne Law School Media

Ban Corporate Greenwashing, urges report on social media ads

Businesses should be forced to be honest about their climate-friendly practices rather than free to make unsubstantiated claims, according to a new report that analysed nearly 9000 green claims in social media advertising.

The Conversation logo

1 December 2023 | The Conversation

Social media ads are littered with ‘green’ claims. How are we supposed to know they’re true?

Online platforms are awash with ads for so-called “green” products. Power companies are “carbon neutral”. Electronics are “for the planet”. Clothing is “circular” and travel is “sustainable”. Or are they?

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1 December 2023 | ABC News

New research finds advertisers are regularly making meaningless claims that their products are ‘clean’, ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’

Consumers are increasingly considering the environmental impact of a product when making purchasing decisions, and marketers know it. But exactly how environmentally friendly are the goods you are buying? And how true are the big “green” claims advertisers are making in online ads?

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1 December 2023 | ABC News

VIDEO: Research finds advertisers make ‘meaningless’ environmental claims

Professor Christine Parker says it can be almost impossible for consumers to get to the bottom of whether brands are ‘green’ or not.

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1 December 2023 | ADM+S News

Call for stricter regulations on green claims in online advertising

Consumers are increasingly mindful of the environmental impact of a product when making purchasing decisions, and marketers know it. But how environmentally friendly are the goods you are buying? And how accurate are the “green” claims being made by advertisers in online ads?

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18 November 2023 | ABC News

Fake celebrity scam ads hijack Facebook accounts to target Australians

Scammers are using multinational brands — including a food delivery company and beloved character Paddington Bear — in a bid to steal money from Australian Facebook users.

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6 November 2023 | ABC News

Inside the world of fake ad scams stealing the identities of Kochie and celebrities like him around the world

Scam ads have become a constant presence both on social media, including Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), but also across news and entertainment websites and beyond.

Hungry Talks logo

21 September 2023 | Hungry Talks 

Episode 7: Sustainability and Ethics

Prof Christine Parker (ADM+S, and University of Melbourne) talks to Jaia Guildford-Carey (Hungry Talks host) about advertising on social media platforms and the Australian Ad Observatory.

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2 June 2023 | ADM+S News

Research informs government debate on targeted advertising of harmful products

The ADM+S Centre has welcomed the call by crossbench MPs for the Federal Government to use independent evidence on targeted advertising to inform debate about pervasive marketing of harmful products as a matter of public importance.

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23 March 2023 | ADM+S Media

The Australian Ad Observatory uncovering the hidden world of targeted advertising

The Australian Ad Observatory project conducted at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) is working to understand the hidden world of advertising by asking volunteers to donate their Facebook ads.

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21 March 2023 | ABC News

Offshore casino illegally ‘partners’ with Facebook to target Australians

The ABC recently partnered with the Australian Ad Observatory to find gambling ads that were illegally targeting Australians on Facebook. This report asks who should be responsible for monitoring illegal online advertising and whether advertising rules can be better enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACAM). 


9 March 2023 | FARE Media Release

Alcohol companies ply community with 40,000 alcohol advertisements a year on Facebook and Instagram

Alcohol companies are creating online environments for harm, with a new report revealing that 39,820 distinct alcohol ads are placed on Facebook and Instagram each year, often combined with a button prompting users to “shop now”.

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7 March 2023 | ABC Radio National

Australian regulators target corporate ‘greenwashing’

Corporate regulator ASIC has launched its first prosecution over alleged ‘greenwashing’ as the consumer watchdog vows to get tough on questionable claims.

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8 March 2023 | ADM+S Media Release

Research investigates “greenwashing” advertising on social media

Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S) are uncovering vague and misleading green advertising on social media, with the help of the Australian consumers who are being targeted.
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17 May 2022 | ADM+S Podcast

How Does Political Advertising Target Voters on Social Media?

As we countdown to the election, we’re seeing an increase in political advertising, not just on billboards and TV, but also online.  It’s even crept into online games and Grindr. In this episode we talk to Professor Daniel Angus about the rise of political advertising on social media and the use of micro-targeting to shape political messaging.

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13 May 2022 | ABC The Drum

The Drum: Friday 13/05/2022

Professor Daniel Angus talks about the Australian Ad Observatory and the state of online advertising during the federal election.

8 May 2022 | The Briefing Podcast

Election ads: From Google to Grindr

Professor Daniel Angus talks to The Briefing about online political advertising, how it works, what concerns arise, and some of what he and his teams at ADM+S and QUT are seeing this campaign through their online ad tracking activities.

The Conversation logo

3 May 2022 | The Conversation

Facebook, YouTube, games & Grindr: what we know about online ads in the federal election 

Unlike billboards or TV ads which can be widely seen, targeted ads may be invisible beyond their intended audience. Researchers try to get a handle on online advertising through projects like the Australian Ad Observatory. Here’s what they know so far about the state of online advertising in the federal election.

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8 April 2022 | ABC The Briefing

Prof Daniel Angus discusses targeted advertising on ABC’s Afternoon Briefing

Whilst political advertising is seen on TV, pamphlets and billboards, a lot of political activity is also happening online, out of the spotlight and out of public scrutiny. ADM+S researchers are working in partnership with ABC to monitor political advertising on Facebook during the election campaign to uncover how these ads are being targeted.


8 April 2022 | CHOICE

Why we need better oversight of targeted online advertising

Targeted advertising can be useful and convenient at times, like when you’ve been searching for the perfect bedside lamp and Facebook shows you ads from lighting companies with similar lamps. But can also be irrelevant and annoying. It can have grave consequences, too: the same systems that target you as a potential buyer of a new bedside lamp could also persuade you to buy a scam health product or vote for a particular political party.

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6 April 2022 | ABC News article

How political parties are using microtargeting to sway voter choices ahead of the federal election

Campaigners today have the ability to target voters more directly through digital and social media advertising, identifying them based on their online footprints. Despite this being a common practice among most political parties, there’s still a lot we don’t know.

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5 April 2022 | ABC News article

You’re being targeted on Facebook this federal election campaign. Find out who’s doing it

Election campaigns might seem like they’re fought on campaign buses and in shopping malls, because that’s where we see political leaders on the news.

But a lot of political activity is happening online, out of the spotlight.

17 October 2021 | Channel Seven Sunrise

Research project launched into Facebook’s use of highly-targeted ‘dark ads’
How many times have you been scrolling social media and seen an ad for a company you don’t follow?