Study: Oldest Facebook users most likely to have shared fake news stories

Facebook users over the age of 65 were much more likely to have shared fake news stories on the site during the 2016 presidential campaign than any other age group, according to a new study from researchers at Princeton University and New York University.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday, found that users 65 and older were more than twice as likely to share links from fake news sites as those in the next oldest age group of 45 to 65 years old. And they were nearly seven times as likely to share such links as users in the youngest age group surveyed.

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The journal article found that sharing fake news links was rare among its respondents. Only 8.5 percent of those surveyed were found to have shared any such links.

It also found that those on the conservative end of the political spectrum were more likely than those identifying as liberals to have shared fake news items.

But even when controlling for factors like level of education, ideology and partisanship, the study found that older users were most likely to have spread stories from fake news sites.

The study relied on a list of fake news domains collected by Buzzfeed News, which includes hoax sites like usanewsflash.com and abcnews.com.co.

The researchers conducted surveys on 3,500 respondents, and 1,331 of them agreed to share their Facebook information with them in order to compile the data.