Avoiding “Fake News” – also at old age – not as hard as one might think.

Ryan C. Moore & Jeffrey T. Hancock just published “A digital media literacy intervention for older adults improves resilience to fake news”. This article gives promising news on the awareness and actions one can to avoid fake news and misconceptions.

The intervention was a 1-hour, self-directed series of interactive modules designed to teach concepts and skills for identifying misinformation online.
Consistent with our pre-registered hypothesis, older adults significantly improved their likelihood of accurately discerning fake from true news from 64% pre-intervention to 85% post-intervention. In contrast, older adults in the control condition did not significantly improve (from 55% to 57%). The treated older adults were also more likely to employ strategies for identifying misinformation online compared to pre-intervention and the control group.

Predicted probability of reporting doing research on a headline to inform one’s judgment of its veracity.
Higher values indicate greater probability of correctly doing research on a headline.

As older adults increasingly adopt social media and make use of modern communication technologies to consume news, it will be important to ensure that they have the skills necessary to sort true from false content and protect themselves from misinformation. […] If older adults, a civic-minded and community-oriented demographic group’s, ability to identify misinformation online can be improved, there are reasons to believe that they could become a valuable resource for society at large in its fight against misinformation and other falsehoods which proliferate online.

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