Fake News Is an Old-People Problem

Photo: Vanya Dudumova/Getty Images/EyeEm

Today in “news that is nice to have to confirm things you probably were already assuming without statistical data”: A new study found that people over 65 are the most likely to sharing fake news. Researchers at NYU and Princeton, published on Wednesday in Science Advances, worked with a group of 3,500 people before and after the 2016 election. Of those 3,500, about half consented to downloading an application that allowed researchers to see public data, like posts and political affiliations. They found that 8.5 percent of users shared fake news, but that those numbers increased in more elderly users.

From the Verge:

Users who identified as conservative were more likely than users who identified as liberal to share fake news: 18 percent of Republicans shared links to fake news sites, compared to less than 4 percent of Democrats. The researchers attributed this finding largely to studies showing that in 2016, fake news overwhelmingly served to promote Trump’s candidacy. But older users skewed the findings: 11 percent of users older than 65 shared a hoax, while just 3 percent of users 18 to 29 did. Facebook users ages 65 and older shared more than twice as many fake news articles than the next-oldest age group of 45 to 65, and nearly seven times as many fake news articles as the youngest age group (18 to 29).

So … call your mom and dad. Call your grandparents. Call your second-grade teacher who hasn’t heard from you since second grade. Say hello. Ask them how they are doing. And while you have them on the line, casually explain to them how to suss out fake news. Or just subtly email them this list.

Fake News Is an Old-People Problem