Let's Play a Game

Welcome to a world very much like ours, but not quite the same. Here are two facts about this world:

  1. There is a presidential election coming up.
  2. There is a virus sweeping the nation.

The rest of the fact? We’ll leave up to you to find out.

Can you quickly distinguish truth from fiction in your social media feed?

Scroll through the feed and try to get a sense of what’s going on, then we’ll test you.

What is This?

You can learn what dark ads are in theory, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to spot them in practice. We have simulated a social media feed that is sprinkled with disinformation and sneaky dark ads to demonstrate how innocuous they appear to the untrained eye...and even to the trained eye, how it can be downright impossible to catch everything.

How to Play

Select a persona from the three below. You will scroll through their social media feed in a world very much like ours but not the same. Try to catch all of the dark ads! At the end, you’ll take a quiz on what you’ve seen, and see how close you were to understanding “reality.” Then we’ll show you where all the dark ads really were.

Feel free to play the game multiple times with different personas. Can you spot the differences between each character’s feed?

Select a Player to Begin


You're scrolling through your phone before lecture starts, as usual.


Checking your phone on the toilet during your bathroom break. Gross!


Time to see how big the grandkids have gotten!

Disclaimer: This game is an educational parody of real social media content. None of the following events or people are real, and any parallels to the real world are purely coincidental and not indicative of any real world experiences or events. All images are used under fair use. To view the versions with photo credit, please click these links: Student // 9-to-5'er // Grandparent

© 2020 The Nightlight Project. This project was created and incubated at the Aspen Institute Tech Policy Hub