Study: Fake News Is Your Mom’s Fault

New research reveals that people over 65 are much more likely to share fake news on social media.

Fakebook, Google, and Its Users can do more to fight fake news.
Fighting fake news on social media starts with its users (Getty Images)

The people who have been found responsible for an enormous chunk of the fake news spread on Facebook during the 2016 election season all have two major things in common — their age and support of one candidate.

A joint study by researchers from Princeton and New York University found that people age 65 and older who pledged their vote to Trump in 2016 were much more likely than any other age group or political affiliation to share fake news stories on social media, Fortune reported.

Although the term “fake news” has been co-opted to mean anything the person using it doesn’t want to hear, as Fortune notes, the definition used by the study is “false or misleading content intentionally dressed up to look like news articles, often for the purpose of generating ad revenue.”

“We find some evidence that the most conservative users were more likely to share this content — the vast majority of which was pro-Trump in orientation — than were other Facebook users,” the researchers wrote.

“Our most robust finding is that the oldest Americans, especially those over 65, were more likely to share fake news to their Facebook friends,” the report continues. “This is true even when holding other characteristics — including education, ideology, and partisanship — constant. No other demographic characteristic seems to have a consistent effect on sharing fake news, making our age finding that much more notable.”

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