Older people tend to post more fake news on Facebook


Older people tend to post more fake news on Facebook compared to previous generations, according to research published in the journal Science.

Regardless of social class, education, gender, age, ethnicity or even the amount of content they share, older citizens share the most fake news on Facebook in the United States. The conclusion is from a study carried out by researchers from the universities of New York and Princeton,  published in the journal “Science”  and  reported by “The Guardian” , according to which Americans over 65 are the most influenced by this type of content.

People over 65, who had access to the Internet later, shared more than twice as many fake news as the previous generation (45-65) and about seven times more than the 18-29 age group.

The influence of fake news on American behavior has been debated continuously since the 2016 election campaign, which culminated in Donald Trump's unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton. The study in question examined the behavior of Facebook users in the months before and after the presidential election.

Researchers analyzed the activity of about 1750 US adults and found that the majority of users did not share articles from fake news domains in 2016, while 8.5% of study participants shared at least one link from a fake news domain. dubious content such as “denverguardian.com”, “truepundit.com” and “donaldtrumpnews.co”. These three sites, along with 18 others, made up the list of sites with “intentionally or systematically inaccurate” stories, which investigators categorized as fake news.

But from that small sample, which shared content from 21 “pro-Donald Trump” domains, there were clear differences. About 18% of Republican users shared at least one link to a fake news site, as opposed to less than 4% of Democrats. The more conservative a user was, the more articles they shared – a finding attributed to the fact that most fake news in 2016 was pro-Trump and the “tendency for users to share articles they agree with”.

Those users who shared more content tended to share less fake news, suggesting that the problem is not that “some people share everything”, the study concluded. On the contrary, people who shared more content were more informed and able to distinguish what is true from what is false.

“As America's largest generation retires at a time of changing demographics and technology, it is possible that an entire swath of Americans, now in their 60s, do not have the level of digital media literacy necessary to ensure reliability and determine reliability of news found online”, the scholars considered.

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