People older than 65 share most fake news, a new study finds
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.
Today’s study, published in Science Advances , examined user behavior in the months before and after the 2016 US presidential election. In early 2016, the academics started working with research firm YouGov to assemble a panel of 3,500 people, which included both Facebook users and non-users. On November 16th, just after the election, they asked Facebook users on the panel to install an application that allowed them to share data including public profile fields, religious and political views, posts to their own timelines, and the pages that they followed. Users could opt in or out of sharing individual categories of data, and researchers did not have access to the News Feeds or data about their friends.
About 49 percent of study participants who used Facebook agreed to share their profile data. Researchers then checked links posted to their timelines against a list of web domains that have historically shared fake news , as compiled by BuzzFeed reporter Craig Silverman. Later, they checked the links against four other lists of fake news stories and domains to see whether the results would be consistent.
Only 8.5 percent of users in the study shared at least one link from a fake news site Across all age categories, sharing fake news was a relatively rare category. Only 8.5 percent of users in the study shared at least one link from a fake news site. Users who identified as conservative were more likely than users who identified as liberal to share fake news: 18 percent of Republicans shared links to fake news sites, compared to less than 4 percent of Democrats. The researchers attributed this finding largely to studies showing that in 2016, fake news overwhelmingly served to promote Trump’s candidacy.
But older users skewed the findings: 11 percent of users older than 65 shared a hoax, while just 3 percent of users 18 to 29 did. Facebook users ages 65 and older shared more than twice as many fake news articles than the next-oldest age group of 45 to 65, and nearly seven times as many fake news articles as the youngest age group (18 to 29).
“When we bring up the age finding, a lot of people say, ‘oh yeah, that’s obvious,’” co-author Andrew Guess , a political scientist at Princeton University, told The Verge . “For me, what is pretty striking is that the relationship holds even when you control for party affiliation or ideology. The fact that it’s independent of these other traits is pretty surprising to me. It’s not just being driven by older people being more conservative.”
The study did not draw a conclusion about why older users are more likely to share hoaxes, though the researchers point to two possible theories. The first is that older people, who came to the internet later, lack the digital literacy skills of their younger counterparts. The second is that people experience cognitive decline as they age, making them likelier to fall for hoaxes.
18 percent of Republicans shared links to fake news sites, compared to less than 4 percent of Democrats Regardless of age, the digital literacy gap has previously been blamed on users’ willingness to share hoaxes. Last year, WhatsApp began developing a program to promote digital literacy in India — where many of its 200 million users are relatively new to the internet — after a series of murders that may have been prompted by viral forwarding in the app. That program is aimed at users of all ages.
At the same time, elderly Americans are prone to falling for so many scams that the Federal Bureau of Investigations has a page devoted to them . It seems likely that a multi-pronged approach to reducing the spread of fake news will be more effective than trying to solve for only one variable.
Guess and his colleagues hope to test both hypotheses in the future. It won’t be easy: how to determine whether a person is digitally literate remains an open question. But at least some of the issue is likely to come down to design: fake news spreads quickly on Facebook in part because news articles generally look identical in the News Feed , whether they are posted by The New York Times or a clickbait farm.
Future research could decipher what people see in the News Feed, and whether there is a relationship between seeing fake news stories and sharing them. They speculate that users may be more likely to share fake stories if they were previously shared by a trusted friend.
Matthew Gentzkow, who has researched the efforts of Facebook’s efforts to slow the spread of fake news, said the new study’s findings about age could help tech platforms design more effective tools. (He was not involved in the NYU-Princeton study.)
“The age result in this paper points very directly toward at least narrowing down the set of solutions that are likely to be most effective,” said Gentzkow, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. “If the problem is concentrated in a relatively small set of people, then thinking about the interventions that would be most effective for those people is going to take us a lot farther.”
Re: Duterte ramps up attack on Catholic Church | Inquirer News
He said he has nothing against the Church, particularly priests, but slammed them for accusing him of extrajudicial killings.
The President in December urged the public to kill their bishops, whom he described as useless.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo had already clarified that Duterte’s ‘kill bishops’ remark was just a hyperbole for dramatic effect
In his speech in Masbate, Duterte again slammed priests for using the pulpit to criticize him.
“Itong pari, you know, do not use the pulpit,” he said.
“Magpa-interview ka diyan sa opisina mo. “We do not like the way Duterte is handling the problem because there are so many persons, innocents are killed.” Okay ‘yang ganun,” he added. ADVERTISEMENT
(Have yourselves interviewed in your office and criticize they way I handle problems because many individuals get killed. That’s fine with me). /gsg/ac Read Next
Innocents abroad: Why do so many Canadians still ignore travel warnings? | CBC News
Innocents abroad: Why do so many Canadians still ignore travel warnings? Innocents abroad: Why do so many Canadians still ignore travel warnings? Edith Blais’s disappearance happened when she ignored travel warnings telling Canadians to “avoid all travel” to Mali and a large part of Burkina Faso. Why do some Canadians continue to ignore such warnings, and what can the government do about it? Former consular chief says few Canadians heed warnings when venturing off the beaten path Evan Dyer · 4:00 AM Edith Blais (r) and Luca Tacchetto were last heard from on Dec. 15, 2018.(Facebook)
The mystery skeleton of an ancient Indus Valley ‘couple’ – BBC News
India mystery skeleton of ancient ‘couple’ BBC News 11 hrs ago © Vasant Shinde The couple are believed to have died at the same time Around 4,500 years ago, a man and a woman were buried in a grave together in a sprawling cemetery on the outskirts of a thriving settlement of one of the world’s earliest urban civilisations .
In 2015, archaeologists and scientists from India and South Korea found these two “very rare” skeletons in a Harappan (or Indus Valley) city – what is now Rakhigarhi village in the northern Indian state of Haryana. For three years, they researched the “chronology” and possible reasons behind the deaths; and the findings have now been published in a peer-reviewed international journal.
“The man and the woman were facing each other in a very intimate way. We believe they were a couple. And they seemed to have died at the same time. How they died, however, remains a mystery,” archaeologist Vasant Shinde, who led the team told me.
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They were buried in a half-a-metre-deep sand pit. The man was around 38 years old at the time of his death, while the woman was around 35. Both were reasonably tall – he was 5.8ft and she, 5.6ft. They were both possibly “quite healthy” when they died – tests didn’t find any lesions or lines on the bones or any “abnormal thickness” of skull bones, which could hint at injuries or diseases such as brain fever.
Everything else they found in the grave was unexceptional for its time: a few earthen pots and some semi-precious stone bead jewellery , commonly found in Harappan graves. “The most striking thing about Harappan burials is how spartan they were. They didn’t have grand burials like, for example, kings in West Asia,” says Tony Joseph, author of Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From.
In Mesopotamia, for example, kings were interred with hoards of precious jewellery and artefacts . Interestingly, jewellery made of carnelian, lapis lazuli and turquoise possibly exported from Harappa were found in graves in Mesopotamia.
In Harappan cities, graves usually contained pots with food and some jewellery – people likely believed in life after death and these materials were meant to be grave offerings. A lot of the pottery, says Mr Joseph, comprised lavishly painted dishes on stands and squat, bulging jars. “There was nothing remotely suggestive of royal funerals, which were common in west Asia,” he adds.
Archaeologists believe the “mystery couple” lived in a settlement spread over more than 1,200 acres, housing tens of thousands of people. Of the 2,000-odd Harappan sites discovered in India and Pakistan so far, the settlement in Rakhigarhi is the largest, overtaking the more well-known city of Mohenjo Daro in Pakistan. (The ancient civilisation was first discovered at Mohenjo Daro in what is now Pakistan in the 1920s.)
To be sure, this is not the first time archaeologists have discovered a couple in a Harappan grave.
In the 1950s, the skeletal remains of a man and a woman, heaped on top of each other, were found in a sand pit . The skull of the woman bore injury marks. Some excavators made a controversial claim that the woman had been killed by people – a claim that could never be proved.
At Rakhigarhi, archaeologists have discovered 70 graves in the cemetery, barely a kilometre away from the settlement, and excavated 40 of them. But this single grave of the “mystery couple” has turned to be most fascinating of all.
Police ‘seek staff DNA’ over vegetative woman’s baby – BBC News
Police seek staff DNA over vegetative woman’s baby 9 January 2019 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Getty Images Police in Arizona are seeking DNA samples from male staff at a nursing home where a patient in a vegetative state gave birth.
The incident occurred at a clinic run by Hacienda HealthCare, near Phoenix.
The centre said a warrant was served by police on Tuesday, as authorities try to find out how the woman became pregnant.
She has reportedly been a patient at the facility for at least a decade following a near-drowning incident.
Earlier this week, the chief executive of the corporation in charge of the home resigned over the case.
In a news conference on Wednesday, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt Tommy Thompson said it was not known whether anyone had declined to give a DNA sample.
On its website, Hacienda HealthCare says it provides care for “medically fragile and chronically ill infants, children, teens, and young adults as well as those with intellectual and developmental disabilities”.
The female patient, who has not been identified, reportedly gave birth to a boy on 29 December.
Police said the infant was not breathing when they were called into the facility, though both mother and child are now recovering in a local hospital. ‘Traumatised’
Lawyer John Micheaels, representing the woman’s family, described her as being in a “completely vulnerable state”.
“The family obviously is outraged, traumatised and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda HealthCare,” the attorney told NBC’s 12News .
The relatives, who say they are not ready to come forward, asked for it to be conveyed publicly that the child has been “born into a loving family and will be well cared for”.
The woman is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, according to a statement released by tribal leaders on Tuesday.
“I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members,” Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler said.
“When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers. Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her.”
Local media reports say staff at the care home were unaware the patient was pregnant until she gave birth.
Hacienda has said it will “do everything in [its] power to bring this police investigation to a quick conclusion”.
“We will continue to co-operate with Phoenix police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation,” it said in a statement.
The company also said it had sought legal advice over the possibility of mandatory DNA testing for staff, but was advised it would violate federal law.
Arizona Department of Health Services said additional safety measures have been implemented at the home since the case came to light. Related Topics