Is There a Fake News Generation?
Many attribute the rise of fake news and clickbait to young people and their use of social media. But over the past few years, there’s been a growing realization that older Americans are just as likely to fall for fake news, and a few studies have suggested that people over 65 are just as vulnerable to disinformation as younger generations — if not more vulnerable.
In light of recent disinformation campaigns, the Reboot Foundation explored this issue in more depth: How exactly does a person’s age influence their ability to resist clickbait, identify legitimate news headlines, and determine the reliability of websites? To what extent do other factors, like the time spent on social media or political affiliations, influence clickbait preference and internet literacy?
Specifically, this study hoped to measure whether older adults (over 60 years old) are better than younger adults (aged 18-30) at identifying legitimate news headlines.
- Older Americans prefer clickbait more than younger Americans.
- The more time spent on social media, the worse the user’s news judgment.
- Internet users think they’re skilled at examining information online, but they are not nearly as good at identifying fake news as they believe.
- For all age groups, determining the reliability of websites is problematic.