65-PLUS FACEBOOK USERS MORE LIKELY TO SHARE FAKE NEWS: STUDY

Jan 17, 2019

By Jane Brown

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Beware of made up stories on Facebook and other social media sites.

According to a new analysis by researchers at New York and Princeton Universities, a new study finds older Americans are more likely to share fake news on Facebook. And this is regardless of education, gender, race, income or party affiliation.

The study examined user behaviour in the months before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Across all age categories, sharing fake news was a relatively rare category. Only 8.5 percent of users in the study shared at least one link from a fake news site.

But older users skewed the findings. Eleven percent of those 65-plus hared a hoax, while just 3 percent of users 18 to 29 shared fake news. And Facebook users 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 18 to 29 demographic.

The study did not draw a conclusion about why older users are more likely to share hoaxes. It’s published in Science Advances.

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