Why Older Americans Are More Likely to Inhabit Social Media Bubbles
Higher rates of loneliness and conflict avoidance put the elderly at risk for "fake news" targeting.
Thanks to a combination of factors—including higher rates of loneliness and conflict avoidance as well as degraded ability in cognition—older Americans are more likely to inhabit closed-off social media environments, according to Scientific American.
Pulling together a number of recent studies, the magazine concludes that the elderly are prone to seek out like-minded individuals online and to engage in “motivated cognition.” But this willingness to bask in a self-selected bubble of online positive reinforcement could also put this age group at increased risk for disinformation campaigns similar to the ones that marred the 2016 US presidential election campaign, the authors warn.
“Demographically, with projections of more than 2 billion individuals age 60 and over in 2050 and recent polling data reporting a surge in the percentage of older adults reporting use of social media platforms, it is essential we develop a better sense of how older adults engage with these platforms and how factors affecting this group (i.e. loneliness) may have on their online behavior,” they write.
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