It could be argued that everyone has been guilty of spreading fake news. Whether it's a complete accident or purely intentional, it still adds more to this problem; a problem that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. Fake news has been a problem for years- that's a well-known fact. But what might not be as well-known is who are most likely to spread fake news.
According to Business Insider this past Thursday, the age group of people who are responsible for spreading fake news the most is baby boomers. A study published by Science Advances in early January of 2019 revealed that Facebook users 65 and older are seven times more likely to share fake news on the social media platform than any other age group. Only 11 percent of baby boomers who shared these stories; a far larger number than the number of people aged 18 to 29 who did the same thing, who sit at three percent.
The study in question was conducted by researchers from both New York University and Princeton, with the ultimate goal being to identify the characteristics of those who share fake news. The sample size was 3500 people, and not all of them were said to use Facebook. The definition of fake news was, according to the study, "knowingly false or misleading content created largely for the purpose of generating ad revenue." The list of sites most responsible for fake news came from Craig Silverman, a journalist from BuzzFeed News.
For some who see these facts, they may be surprised to see this. Others, however, may not be surprised at all by any of it. But one thing that the study's researchers stressed is that context is necessary when taking it all into consideration. Namely, the fact that a majority of baby boomers may not recognize that not everything they see on Facebook is true. It seems as though they spread fake news by accident, rather than on purpose. If baby boomers learn more about how the Internet works, perhaps fake news will spread less and less.