Facebook and older people over fake news

The proverb ” with age comes great wisdom” exists.  Studies have also proved the same statement. With an advancement of time, the authenticity of this study seems to be at stake. Credits for this would go to the development in technology. The evolution of a great technology including Facebook is a boon globally. But this seems to be taking a toll on the older generation. The reason for this allegation would simply be NYU’s and Princeton’s research. The study concludes that sharing such fake news was “a relatively rare activity”.

Facebook has attracted a huge mass since 2004, for the purpose of connecting with people from across the world. Teens to older age group of 65+ are the most affected by Facebook. The teens have their parents to eye over their activities, however the older aged people seems to have been ignored. A wide social networking platform like Facebook can often overload people with information that may not be true. People who seem to have gotten carried away with this not so authentic news are majority of the times above the age of 65. Therefore, older people are almost four times vulnerable to fake news and sharing it over Facebook, claims a research published in journal Science.

While the studies have led to this conclusion, news has it that there are a number of factors that have ushered to this research.

fake news

The conduct of the research which has led to these results

This research interviewed about 2,711 Facebook Users and half of them shared their postings with the professors. Buzzfeed and research teams have compiled websites which were referred by the professors. A count was then done on the number of people who shared the content from these websites. 897 specific articles were found to be false after the results being double checked. A person susceptible to fake news were those above 65+, the research showed. Addition to this, they were capable of sharing seven times more false information than those aged between 18 and 29, shared a professor at Princeton. US audience is also Facebook’s fastest growing audience.

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Digital Literacy, contributing to determining the veracity of news available on facebook

Digital literacy refers to a person’s ability to contemplate and ponder upon, the information that is available on digital platforms. The pros and cons of false news have been induced in the younger generation. However, who is kept at bay is the older generation. The end-product of this ignorance is that these people do not have the digital literacy that it is anticipated. Digital literacy therefore has been a major component of this study. It is concluded that people above the age of 65 do not possess the digital literacy that would keep them away from false sharing over a platform like Facebook.

Different awareness initiatives- taken time and again in making people aware about the possible scams online. However, what these initiatives fail to capture is the attention of this particular age group. The ignorance that this age group faces when it comes to technology is therefore the pioneer of why the study has stumbled across this result.

Is this good news or a bad news?

While the world is turning into a global village and into a concise one, it is splendid to witness an older age group indulge in the advancements of development.

On the other hand, it is an alarming result that needs contemplation and an initiative to curb it. Fake news shared over social media platforms like Facebook increases incorrect inhibition and false knowledge in the aged person. Moreover, it also puts other people in a situation where they tend to believe the news to be true. The authenticity of it is to the minimum. The digital literacy falls into play here where it is these 65+ people who lack the wisdom digitally to analyse what is true to which extent.  As all their lives, they have been living around news coming to them naturally. With this research, it is time that companies end up digital sensitization program for the elderly. This way everyone- saved form the evils of fake news and misleading information- shared on Facebook.

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Vaibhav Tyagi

Vaibhav Tyagi

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