People Older Than 65 More Likely to Share Fake News: Study

11% of the people above 65 shared fake news, while only 3% of the people in the 18-29 age group shared a hoax.

Tech News
2 min read
The study said that age determined the participants’ behaviour better than any other factor.

Older people are more likely to share fake news on Facebook, as compared to youngsters, a study by researchers at the New York University and the Princeton University found, reported The Verge.

The study said that older people share more fake news, regardless of their sex, race, income, education or how often they use social media. It said that age determined their behaviour better than any other factor.

This study could lead to users and platforms helping people from being misled.

The study examined the users' behaviour in the months before and after the 2016 presidential elections in the US. In 2016, academics started working with a research firm to gather a panel of 3,500 people that included both Facebook users and non-users.

On 16 November, these people were asked to install an application that allowed them to share data, including public profile fields, religious and political views, posts on their own timeline, and the pages they follow. About 49 percent of participants who used Facebook agreed to share their profile data.

The researchers checked the links posted/shared on the participants’ timeline against a list of web domains that have historically shared fake news. Later, the consistency was crosschecked using four other lists of fake news stories and domains.

Across all ages, only 8.5 percent of Facebook users shared at least one fake news link on their profile.

Among older users – 11 percent of people above 65 years of age – shared fake news, while only 3 percent of people in the 18-29 age bracket shared a hoax.

Facebook users aged 65 and older shared more the twice the amount of 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), The Verge reported.

The study found that conservatives were more likely to share fake news than liberals. 18 percent Republicans shared links to fake news sites, as compared to only 4 percent Democrats.

(With inputs from The Verge)

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