Senior Citizens Are Most Likely to Share Fake News on Facebook

“It is possible that an entire cohort of Americans, now in their 60s and beyond, lacks the level of digital media literacy necessary to reliably determine the trustworthiness of news encountered online.”

The devious brilliance of fake news is that its consumers also eagerly serve as its distributors. A propagandist, whether based at home or abroad, merely has to feed a social network such as Twitter or Facebook. Credulous recipients take it from there, passing the misinformation along to their friends.

Getting a handle on this democracy-endangering dynamic will require learning more about who, exactly, spreads false information. New research points to one group of Americans that was disproportionately responsible for it during the 2016 campaign: senior citizens.

“The oldest Americans, especially those over 65, were more likely to share fake news with their Facebook friends,” writes a research team led by Princeton University political scientist Andrew Guess. “On average, users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake-news domains as the youngest age group.”

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