fake News research

With fake news becoming a worrying topic after speculations that it influenced US Presidential elections, a study reveals that older people are more likely to share fake news.

A research conducted by Science Advances analyzed user behavior during the election campaign by monitoring the articles they share on Facebook. 3,500 random people were chosen including Facebook and non-Facebook users.

The users in the survey were asked to install an application that allowed researchers to browse their sharing pattern. Users’ public profile fields, religious and political views, the pages they follow and the posts they share on their timeline were analyzed.

Researchers checked the data obtained from the links posted on their timeline against data of websites that hold past records of sharing fake news. The links were also matched with other lists of fake news stories to observe consistency in the results.

It was observed that conservatives have more probability of sharing fake news than liberals.

However, age played a major role in the findings. The research revealed that 11% of users aged above 65 shared fake news while just 3% of the users aged between 18 and 29 did so.

When the data of Facebook users was analyzed, the study concluded that users aged more than 65 shared twice as many as hoax articles than the users lying in the age group between 45 and 65. And, shockingly, the number rose to seven times when compared to the youngest age group (18 to 29).

As per the research, the reason why older people are more inclined towards sharing fake news is possibly due to two factors. First, the lack of digital literacy in people above 65 and second, the waning cognitive abilities because of old age.

What do you think should be done to curb the practice of sharing hoax news? Tell us in the comments and keep reading at Fossbytes.com.

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