I think we kinda already knew this.
Courtesy of The Verge:
Older Americans are disproportionately more likely to share fake news on Facebook, according to a new analysis by researchers at New York and Princeton Universities. Older users shared more fake news than younger ones regardless of education, sex, race, income, or how many links they shared. In fact, age predicted their behavior better than any other characteristic — including party affiliation.
The role of fake news in influencing voter behavior has been debated continuously since Donald Trump’s surprising victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. At least one study has found that pro-Trump fake news likely persuaded some people to vote for him over Clinton, influencing the election’s outcome. Another study found that relatively few people clicked on fake news links — but that their headlines likely traveled much further via the News Feed, making it difficult to quantify their true reach. The finding that older people are more likely to share fake news could help social media users and platforms design more effective interventions to stop them from being misled.
I imagine that most of us with elderly relatives already had some idea that this was true.
My mom for instance often uses me to fact check things that she is not sure is true or not, and while this kind of bothers me because I want her to use her own critical thinking skills, it is often a good idea that she asks me before accepting some of the bullshit that comes her way on Facebook.
I myself am now moving toward that demographic and really hope that my years of reporting on politics and current events will keep me sharp enough to identify facts and separate them from propaganda or misinformation.
I am not sure exactly when we start habitually retweeting or liking crazy ass memes, but I vow to remain vigilant.