Regardless of political affiliation, over-65s are most likely to share "fake news" (and there's not much fake news, and it's largely right-wing)


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/10/illusions-of-truth.html


#2

Maybe people who grow up using the internet will have more immunity to this type of stuff than their elders who did not? One can hope.


#3

This sort of thing scares me more than any other fact of my crappy meat body’s inevitable decrepitude. It’s not that it’s impossible to live to old age and remain mentally acute - it’s more that I won’t be able to tell if I’ve failed to do so.


#4

Mostly. If someone’s heart is full of hate, they’re willing to believe anysort of delusions and horseshit regardless of age.


#5

My over-65 parents, like many, still use Facebook as their primary feed of news (both national/world news and social/family/community news, all mixed together) so it’s especially easy for fake or falsified news items to slip in. And it’s not just ‘hateful’ news; real-sounding headlines from The Onion or the Borowitz Report fool people constantly and get shared as if they were real.


#6


#7

I would walk back on that one…while some of them are certainly “hearts filled with hate”, is that really all of them?

There are many older conservatives who are not hate filled but fear filled. They feel their control and power slipping away from them. The rapidly changing socio-political climate that they have zero control or ability to stop only compounds what they are facing in their personal/daily lives: Forced retirement, declining health, friends or spouses dying, losing their home or downsizing, etc. I am not making excuses for those who are hate filled…I am saying this group of people is much more nuanced than that, and I am willing to bet the haters are a small sub-set.

@Entity447B this is why it is important to have trusted loved ones around who can help us. My father passed last year at 75 (I am currently 45). I distinctly remember his 50’s and 60’s where he rarely if ever would listen to me, take any advice, or truly be interested in having a conversation that included my views or perspectives. However in the last 3-5 years of his life he did start to listen. Not completely as he loved Nostradumbass (though that was more because he hated Hillary so much); but was far more receptive to talk about our political differences, openly accept and acknowledge my viewpoints, and even on occasion surprise me by coming around to my side of things (same sex marriage was one in particular he shocked me on). Aging alone is an awful thing.


#8

There will always be people like that though, mercifully that’s a lower number of people than it appears online at any given moment generally because at any given moment any of them that can be spewing poison at others will be doing so.


#9

So the definition of fake news is the President doesn’t like it, or doesn’t remember saying it yesterday?


#10

So basically old folks afraid of the sky, shouting at clouds, forwarding RWNJ garbage and The Onion articles…
i.e. any day ending in “Y”

mix in some smart Russian cyber/psy ops, a dash of mega rich greed and racism (it’s not just for the rich ya know!) add decades of saint reagan’s give it all to the rich ‘economics’ hollowing out the middle class and manufacturing jobs and that’s how we got ‘president’ Nostradumbass.


#11

I was more or less talking about the younger ones (like the under 25 year olds) spreading the conspiracy stuff around


#12

I don’t think it’s fair to assume that people sharing Onion articles are afraid, angry, foolish, or racist. I’d say a whole lot of them are simply used to a lifetime of being able to trust that the news they see is real. When The Borowitz Report, printed in the New York Times, posts Trump-mocking headlines that certainly sound plausible, it’s hard to explain satire masquerading as real news.


#13

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin’.


#14

The effects of aging and media literacy may play a part, but I expect this is explained more by lack of internet literacy as a cohort effect. Basically, over 65’s just don’t know how easy, cheap and un-beaureucratic it is to buy a legit-sounding domain name and set up a legit-enough-looking website. They come from a time when it was sufficently difficult to set up a media outlet that you could more or less rely on aesthetic signifiers of legitimacy. To print the New York Times, you need buildings, well-payed staff, business licenses, etc… to make VeryLegitNews.nz, you just need a free wordpress template and a basement. Anyone younger just knows the internet is full of cheap-to-produce, professional-looking bullshit.


#15

These are very closely allied emotions, and will often feed on each other. A whole lot of racial biases are based in fear. It is often easier to hate than to admit to fear, as that seems to make the object of fear more potent than if you just shift to hate.


#16

Generations change, but this seems to apply to each and every one. I have no doubt our kids will say the same about us, and theirs about them.


#17

The definition of “fake news” they used in the study basically boils down to stories from a handful of sites which they (and others) identified as formatted as if it were a real news site, but publishes fake stories, mainly to generate ad hits. They filtered out sites (“domains”) that are highly partisan (the example they give is Breitbart) or “hard news”, which presumably filters out “real” news sites that are trash, like the Daily Mail.

I sort of feel that by excluding highly partisan sites and misinformation memes (like those generated by Occupy Democrats and others) they are filtering out the vast majority of the “fake news”. Their results are robust, but limited, because of their very restricted criteria for “fake news”. I feel that the 8.5% figure is probably an understatement of the problem.

But the fact that 8.5% of the FB users in their survey shares fake news from just a couple of dozen fake news sites is still scary.


#18

I agree with both of you. Hate is a function of fear which is why this aging demographic appears to have the same exact logical conflicts as evangelical christianity. As is pointed out on this forum numerous times, Jesus taught patience, acceptance, empathy and service as a way of life. Evangelicals operate out of suspicion, narcissistic victimhood and a sense that they are the only ones (even among fellow christians) who have gotten it right. This is why they can simultaneously believe that Jews are god’s chosen people and still espouse anti Semitic views while also blindly support the state of Israel.

It’s only confusing if you’re outside looking in.


#19

A very good point. All the work people did to get the public to trust their brand names had the side effect of people trusting things that were branded.

Yeah, I muse about the viability of a maximum voting age to go with the minimum. I know it would one day affect me, but maybe by then it will be good that my opinions are on the shelf.

ETA: My opinions are utter insanity already. Don’t vote for me!


#21

I am more-or-less on the inside, and this one leaves me just baffled. I have no clue how some folks can house that degree of cognitive dissonance and not have their heads explode. :thinking: