- Baby boomers are better at spotting fake news than Gen Zers and millennials, a survey found.
- The survey found those who spent more time online were also more likely to fall for fake news.
- People who get their news from Snapchat, TikTok, or Truth Social are most susceptible to this.
Boomers have always taken the flack for falling for fake news stories, but a survey has found it’s younger generations that are more susceptible to online misinformation.
The survey of 1,516 US adults, published Thursday, was conducted by polling organization YouGov in April 2023. It examined how likely people were to be fooled by fake headlines. The survey is based on a framework called The Misinformation Susceptibility Test, developed by University of Cambridge psychologists.
The 2-minute test, now available to the public, required participants to look at 20 headlines and determine which were fake and real. It found that, on average, 65% of those surveyed were able to correctly classify them.
Surprisingly, the survey found that younger respondents were not as adept at spotting the difference between real and fake headlines as their older counterparts who have often been memed for their online naivete.
Only 11% of 18- to 29-year-olds correctly identified more than 16 headlines and 36% got less than 10 headlines correct. Meanwhile, 36% of those aged 65 or older got a high score and only 9% received a lower score.
Gen Z and millennials’ low scores could partly be attributed to the fact that they spend more time online, with less than a quarter of 18- to 44-year-olds spending two or fewer hours of recreational time online each day, compared to 44% of those aged 45 and over.
Unsurprisingly, more than half of the respondents who got their news from sources like The Associated Press, Axios, and NPR scored highly on the test, but those who got their news from platforms like Snapchat, Truth Social, WhatsApp, and TikTok scored the lowest in the test, the survey found.
Although stereotypes about the older generation falling victim to fake news may be dated, they are rooted in fact. One 2019 study by researchers at Princeton and New York University found that respondents over 65 were more likely to share false or misleading posts on Facebook than other adults.
But as more people turn to social media to get their news, according to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report, the chance of being fooled by fake news is becoming a more persistent issue across age groups.
YouGov did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.