It’s fun to look at the visit statistics and to discover old stories. I wrote this post in 2016. For a reason I don’t know, this post has been one of the most viewed posts in my blogs during the last week.

So, I decided to publish it again. I won’t add any new examples, but if you want to see more stuff, type [lying with data visualization] in your favorite search engine

### Lie factor in ad graphs

What do you do when you have spare time? I tend to throw graphs from ads to a graph digitizer to compute the “lie factor”. Take the following graph for example. It appeared in an online ad campaign a couple of years ago. In this campaign, one of the four Israeli health care providers bragged about the short waiting times in their phone customer support. According to the Meuheded (the health care provider who run the campaign), their customers had to wait for one minute and one second, compared to 1:03, 1:35, and 2:39 in the cases of the competitors. Look how dramatic the difference is:

The problem?

If the orange bar represents 61 seconds, then the dark blue one stands for 123 seconds, almost twice as much, compared to the actual numbers, the green bar is 4:20 minutes, and the light-blue one is approximately seven minutes, and not 2:39, as the number says.

I can’t figure out what guided the Meuhedet creative team in selecting the bar heights. What I do know that they lied. And this lie can be quantified.