Older People Are Likely to Share More Fake News than Others

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VIEWS: 5951 Views CATEGORY: Tech READING TIME: 3 Min To Read UPLOADED ON: 22 Jan 2019

 

The researchers at New York and Princeton Universities have conducted a study recently that shows Americans over 65 are likely to share fake news. Despite the fact that conservatives shared more fake news than liberals, the research also shows that age was the biggest determining factor.

Estimate the ages of the nearby people using an online age calculator, to check whether the researcher's claim that Americans over 65 are more likely to spread false information is accurate or not.

The concept of fake news or hoaxes had become a case of study when social media giants decided to work together to combat its spread in 2016 before the US presidential election. There were 3500 participants in the survey wherein they agreed to share their profile data with the researchers along with their post history. The data gathered were used to compare it with a list of identified fake news domains and tracked through a given period.


Facebook was one of the most notorious when it comes to having many misinformation campaigns. With the accepted consensus that it was Russia who produced a large amount of fake news to help Donald Trump win the presidency. With this, it is clear how fake news can have a huge impact on people in general.

The study looks at the social media habits of Americans, and it was eminent that age was the best predictor of one's tendency to share fake news. It is actually higher than educational level, salary, or political party affiliation. Moreover, the study showed that "conservatives were more likely to share articles from fake news domains, which in 2016 were largely pro-Trump in orientation." Also, 18% of Republicans shared fake news, and less than 4% of Democrats did. Overall, the researchers determined that people over 65 shared nearly seven times as much hoaxes as the youngest age group (18 to 29).

Even though the research did not determine a cause for why older people share more hoaxes in social media they were able to come up with two hypotheses. The first is that older users did not grow up in an internet-connected society and may lack digital knowledge skills. They may look at fake news as legitimate as real news. The second hypothesis is that it may be caused by age-related memory decline. The researchers believe these could be the reasons why many Senior Citizens easily fall victim to fake news and online scams.

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