Older Users Share the Most Fake News on Social Media, Shows Study

A recent study published in Science Advances (via The Verge), which examined the behaviour of users of different ages in the months before and after the 2016 US presidential election, has revealed that users aged 65 and older shared nearly seven times as many fake news articles as the as the youngest age group (18 to 29).

Fake news

While the study could not draw a conclusion about why older users are more likely to share hoaxes, researchers have come up with two possible theories.

The first theory says that older people lack the digital literacy skills of their younger counterparts, while the second theory suggests that people experience cognitive decline as they age which makes them likelier to fall for hoaxes.

According to Matthew Gentzkow, who has researched the efforts of Facebook’s efforts to slow the spread of fake news, the study’s findings could help technology platforms design more effective tools.

“The age result in this paper points very directly toward at least narrowing down the set of solutions that are likely to be most effective,” said Gentzkow, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. “If the problem is concentrated in a relatively small set of people, then thinking about the interventions that would be most effective for those people is going to take us a lot farther.”

To learn more about how the study was carried out, hit up the source page here.

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