back to article Fake news? More like ache news. Grandma, grampa 'more likely' to share made-up articles during US election

Senior Americans aged 65 and older shared more fake news on Facebook during the 2016 US Presidential election than any other age group, according to a study published on Wednesday. Researchers from New York University and Princeton University looked into what 1,300 folks participating in the study posted on their Facebook …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Putting on my IBM HR hat...

    The next question is did they share them deliberately? As mentioned in the article, they use every trick in the book togo viral and one false click is enough.

    The sooner we manage this population of oldies down to more manageable numbers the.... Never mind, don't quote me on that.

    1. HildyJ
      Devil

      Re: Putting on my IBM HR hat...

      Off the record, what we need is a fake news effort to convince them that fentanyl cures arthritis.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > "Said sites did not include the usual roster of Breitbart, Fox News, et al routinely accused of making up stories..."

    Yes, routinely accused by the likes of the Washington Post, the New York Times, Der Speigel, and CNN. All straight arrows who only occasionally get caught inventing stuff about conservatives.

    1. veti Silver badge

      I agree, that dig was gratuitous.

      But since those sites were explicitly not included, your point isn't really relevant to the article.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But the dig was, and it mentioned them by name, so weren't they explicitly included anyway? Besides, they were included for no apparent reason except to provide "fan service" for the majority of posters here. Webcomics readers will know what I mean by that.

        But you are right, it's not relevant to the article per se. I just get tired of the usual insinuations that "rightwing" automatically means "bad." I used to respond this way more often, but I got downvoted so often that measures were taken to curb my "enthusiasm." It made me angry at first, but now I realize it's made me a better poster. I have to be careful not to step over the line too far, or whammo!

        So now I, as a Righty posting on a Leftie site, pick and choose, and try to be subtly subversive. It seems to be working, so far...

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Red herring

          It has absolutely nothing to do with right and left, Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, etc.

          It has to do with truth versus deliberate falsehood.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Red herring

              Most people in the US view most Europeans as hopelessly far to the left. It's all relative. And who says jihadists are on the right? They want to control what people think, just like a lot on the left with their PC culture. Us righties prefer to live and let live, even if some people behave in "bad" ways. We may disapprove, but we don't actively try to force other people to "be good." That's just a meme the left pins on us as part of the culture war.

              1. Archtech Silver badge

                Re: Red herring

                There is no "left" and "right", and there haven't been for decades. There was nothing in the slightest conservative about Margaret Thatcher or any subsequent Tory PM; and the Labour Party stopped having anything to do with labour when Tony Blair was appointed leader (if not before). Don't even get me started on the "liberals"... a more illiberal lot it would be hard to imagine. They would make Mr Gladstone puke.

                As for the USA, Gore Vidal nailed it about 30 years ago:

                "There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party… and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently… and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties".

                Although Julius Nyerere elegantly capped that with:

                "The United States is also a one-party state, but with typical American extravagance, they have two of them".

              2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

                Re: Red herring

                No, righties want to control what people think as well. They do actively try to force other people "to be good". Everything from Rush Limbaugh to billboards to you name it. I am not saying others don't, I just can't buy that Rightists are all tolerant and hands-off. Let's just bring up a woman's right to abortion or to being paid for work of equal value, as well as access to the board-room. That tends to start up an interesting conversation.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Red herring

                  Yes, rightwingers these days are famous for shouting down the opposition whenever they show their faces. We own the all the colleges, and we says what goes.

                  Notice the problem with what I wrote?

            2. Chubby Chuckles

              Re: Red herring

              surely it's nationalist vs globalization rather than left vs right...

            3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

              Re: Red herring

              "Only in America can really complicated issues be boiled down to two simple choices:

              You're a commie Leftie

              or

              You're a Fascist Right Wing Nazi."

              Only in America, you say? Wow, you've not really been paying attention, have you? It applies all over the world. For eg, anyone in favour of Brexit is labeled a racist. Anyone dismayed at Angela Merkil inviting undocumented migrants to Germany is racist. Anyone pointing out the inequities of quotas is a misogynist or racist. Remember "right-wing" and "far-right" and "alt-right" are code words used by those who practice identity politics. And for sure there ARE racists in the word. But someone who believes in private enterprise, thrift & hard work, social welfare as a safety-net rather than a way of life, isn't a racist, but they ARE "right-wing".

              1. Mooseman Bronze badge

                Re: Red herring

                "anyone in favour of Brexit is labeled a racist"

                Anyone who is in favour of brexit because of immigration is, yes. Not all brexit supporters are racist, however all the racists voted leave.

                If you are suggesting that the "far right" "alt-right" etc are simply words made up to somehow put down policitcal stancces that are not left leaning then you are fooling yourself. Alt-right is an umbrella term to include all the fringe groups in the US such as holocaust deniers, and was itself coined by Paul Gottfried in 2008 (himself a self described "paleoconservative") to describe the growth of a new right wing of politics in the USA. It has not been made up by someone denigrating the right wing movement, although you seem to believe that people confuse capitalism with fascism.

                It's the usual conservative viewpoint of course - anyone who is poor must be poor because they are essentially lazy. Of course there are those who abuse the system to avoid doing any actual useful work, but even the most rabid right winger realises that these are a very, very small minority. Anyone who categorises someone hard working as right wing as as deluded as someone who categorises someone receiving welfare as scrounging or lazy, or dismisses the very real threat posed by extreme right wing politics - and make no mistake, it is right wing, not socialism that is the threat - as merely "identity politics"

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Red herring

            It's shouldn't have to do with those things, but it does. The mainstream media have swung very far left in the last 70 years, and now that there are sites like Breitbart to counter their spin they've pretty much thrown off the mask.

            People who say "Breitbart and Fox are all lies" are saying that because the media THEY view are reporting in a way that looks the opposite. I happen to view both sides, and I see lying on both sides, but it appears the MSM are now lying quite a lot more than Breitbart. Others disagree. I understand.

            Funny tho how all the major media lying scandals, where "reporters" are caught outright fabricating stories, seem to come from the left-leaning media and not places like Breitbart or Fox. Der Speigel is just the latest in a long list of such scandals occurring in publications that definitely aren't on the right.

            If the big bold liars are attracted to left-leaning news sites primarily, why would all the small lies be coming from the other side? It doesn't seem likely.

            1. Mooseman Bronze badge

              Re: Red herring

              "People who say "Breitbart and Fox are all lies" are saying that because the media THEY view are reporting in a way that looks the opposite"

              Uh, really? Fox news that slavishly parrots Trump, has "experts" on prime time tv that describe how areas of the UK are under sharia law and the police cant go there? THAT fox news that only "appears" to lie? Breitbart is a mouthpiece for the extreme right wing, and will happily disseminate any old codswallop as long as it promotes their ugly political stance.

              Left wing journalists make stuff up? I think you need citations. I can give you one about a right wing "journalist" who was fired for lying from the Times in the UK, you may have heard of him, he's called Boris Johnson. The media has become more and more right wing in recent decades, Fox and Breitbart are not a reaction, they are the ultimate distillation of blind delusion.

          3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

            Re: Red herring

            "It has to do with truth versus deliberate falsehood."

            Yep, CNN etal never deliberately create fake news stories. Nor do they fail to report news due to partisan positions. Well done.

    2. Winkypop Silver badge

      True, but

      Breitbart and Fox News are by far some of the worst and most blatant purveyors of tat.

      1. EveryTime Silver badge

        Re: True, but

        > "Breitbart and Fox News are by far some of the worst and most blatant purveyors of tat."

        I would like to think that, but I've listened to AM talk radio. Those crackpots moved to the Internet and cross-pollinated their off-the-scale ideas.

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        I'm not their consumer but

        Arguably Fox and Breitbart are amongst the best at selling stories with minimal truthful content. They have quite the audience, for one thing.

        One "good" bad trick is to report opinion, what's been said by the President or the White House or the candidate running in Springfield. On the other side... well, the other side really, isn't hugely different, politically. Like homo sapiens and chimpanzees, they are 99% the same. What's really different is other countries. Therefore also what's really scary. I don't think I see a lot of partisan content from the other side, except for someone who keeps posting a list of Republican office holders who are child molesters. And I don't know which cases are accurately stated but I assume that those who are known to be child molesters are the ones that we don't have to worry about. Anyway, the point I was going for is that a "news" site whose actual business is transmitting partisan statements from partisan third parties is technically lying only in calling this stuff "news". Oh, and in the words "Fair and balanced." And "Most watched. Most trusted." Though... if you don't "trust" them, then why watch, so they must be at around 99%.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm not their consumer but

          Though... if you don't "trust" them, then why watch

          For entertainment.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm not their consumer but

            "Though... if you don't "trust" them, then why watch

            For entertainment."

            I'll file that under things to do for entertainment once I get bored of poking my eyes with a sharp stick then...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm not their consumer but

          > "...someone who keeps posting a list of Republican office holders who are child molesters. And I don't know which cases are accurately stated but I assume that those who are known to be child molesters are the ones that we don't have to worry about."

          Anyone can create a smear sheet to damage the political opposition, and anyone can chose to repeat those lies. Yet in the recent #MeToo movement nearly every man exposed as a creep was a well-known Democrat supporter. That's a fact, not something made up and posted everywhere by partisans.

  3. astounded1

    Look At That Honey - Hillary Has Horns Under Her Fake Hair!

    President Trump can make pigs fly, too! Let's share this one.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Look At That Honey - Hillary Has Horns Under Her Fake Hair!

      Yeah, but since her horns are actually just compacted hair (like: rhinos; not like: elephants), you're just saying she has hair under her hair. Fake gnus!

    2. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Look At That Honey - Hillary Has Horns Under Her Fake Hair!

      "President Trump can make pigs fly, too!"

      Now now, don't be rude about the F-35.

  4. Tomato42 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    who would have thought that part of population most upset about the world changing around them and least flexible when that change is inevitable would look for any kind of consolation that "it's not me, they are wrong" /s

    it's sad, really

  5. HildyJ
    Facepalm

    Respect my authoritay

    I'm old, in my 60s, and I think the guess about not recognizing news as fake comes close. Too many old people were raised to unquestioningly respect authority. For news the authority was what they read in the newspaper or saw on TV. The idea that you'd question it was alien to them. Plus, the ability to access multiple sources to fact check was almost nonexistent for most. They view all news sources, fake, partisan, and nonpartisan, as authoritative.

    Trying to teach us if we haven't learned by now is a lost cause. If you can't go to them in person, grab their cane, and rad them over the knuckles, just reply to their posts with authority. "NO! BAD GRANDMA! DON'T POST THIS!"

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Respect my authoritay

      Too many old people were raised to unquestioningly respect authority media.

      This is an "enlightened west" problem. The "trust in media" ratings start at 60% in USA and slide as you move east dropping to a wopping 31% in Russia and sub-30% in Kazahstan.

      Makes the populists and Internet Research Agency jobs much easier. The amount of "truth punctuation" they need to insert in the stream of scheisse to make their narrative believable is on an order of magnitudes lower here than in the East.

    2. Mooseman Bronze badge

      Re: Respect my authoritay

      One of my neighbours regularly spams my facebook account with extreme right-wing memes, and is always surprised when I point out the source of her "information". Much the same way my elderly parents viewed everything written in the newspapers as something skin to holy script.

    3. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Re: Respect my authoritay

      It's not different with the post-soviet states, where you knew that the media was lying to you. Yet it's primarily the old generation that support the likes of Orban or Kaczynski who use fake news to further their agenda. Hell, they commonly use the same rhetorical devices!

    4. TomG

      Re: Respect my authoritay

      You should never hit your Grandma. Remember, she was instrumental in you being able to post here.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Respect my authoritay

      I'm in my early 60's and resent the implication that I have lost my ability to question sources. Quite the opposite, too often I see a news story and smell a rat because I have heard the same tale so many times with different actors and seen it debunked later.The Daily Fail and Daily Excess are great places to hone these skills. I am also smart enough to have avoided FB like the plague, the last year or two have thrown enough revelations up to make me feel justified.

      So juck you fack, getting past 60 does not mean an automatic withering of the ability to analyse

      1. HildyJ

        Re: Respect my authoritay

        Two points for 60 year old Anonymous Coward. First, not all old people are non-analytical and critical thinking doesn't decline with age. Second, if you're in your early 60s, you hit college with Vietnam and Watergate, both of which destroyed some of the populous' unquestioning respect for authority. I'm in my late 60s and it's the people older than me who often don't get it.

        1. kiwimuso
          Unhappy

          Re: Respect my authoritay

          "I'm in my late 60s and it's the people older than me who often don't get it."

          I'm 75 and I'm often being accused of being overly cynical.

          I wonder why!

          Suffice to say that my extreme cynicism started probably 20 years ago and has strengthened over the years.

          Of course I implicitly believe "everything" I read in El Reg - well sometimes, when there are citations and all that jazz.

          I have decided that most news seems to be opinions rather than hard facts. The opinions may be based around facts, but they are only opinions of the particular journalist as far as I can make out. No better than my own impeccable opinions!

  6. Ole Juul Silver badge

    Where did they get these people?

    One would think that the longer you live the wiser you get to being conned, though I'm guessing that different generations have different vulnerabilities too. It's been some years since I passed 65 but despite coming from an arts background, that doesn't mean that I'm not still learning things that are relevant to my life in 2019, including networking and computer security. Anybody can learn about the internet if they want to. Could it be that this particular sample is just not interested in things? Certainly the spreading of lies for political and ideological purposes in the press, and elsewhere, was prevalent 50 years ago - the same as it's always been.

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: Where did they get these people?

      To what extend was it shared in the context of "Hey, can you believe the kind of crap young people put on the Internet?"

      I agree there is definitely a component of older people who think "It was in writing, so it must be true" - this is partly because they are of an age group where a large part of the community was illiterate - being literate meant being educated and informed - and possibly from a rich background and financially more likely to be conservative. And being "educated" was somewhat relative.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Where did they get these people?

      "One would think that the longer you live the wiser you get to being conned"

      Why would one think that? Certainly there doesn't appear to be any evidence that the aphorism "older and wiser" is anything other than propaganda put about by Big Age. Old people have a well established history of being at least as gullible as everyone else, if not more so. Personally I'm of the opinion that wisdom peaks somewhere in the 30s. Younger whipersnappers are clearly all idiots, but it's all too soon after that point that things like combovers, socks with sandles, and tight lycra to match the shiny new road bike start seeming like good ideas, and it's only downhill from there.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Where did they get these people?

        You yourself wouldn't happen to be exactly 30 by any chance, would you, Cuddles?

      2. TomG

        Re: Where did they get these people?

        Wisdom seems to be at its lowest, age adjusted for experience, about 35. It then rises until age 60, then levels off until about 75. About 75 most oldsters just don't care what the rest of the world thinks and will just say, or repeat, whatever will get the desired reaction. This is based on my personal experience and does not represent the results of any scientific study.

    3. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: Where did they get these people?

      As one closing in on the over 65 range, I wonder whether this group is more likely to read political stories than the youngsters.

  7. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Level of engagement?

    So older people share more. They also vote more.

    Could this simply be two manifestations of the same thing? That older people are simply more politically active, they take more interest. Whereas the younger people simply can't be arsed - either to vote or to share stuff. Alternatively, maybe older people simply have more free time, or more polite "friends" who won't shout at them for sharing crap.

    This study (also reported on /.) has too many uncontrolled variables to be considered robust.

    1. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: Level of engagement?

      Of course, there's the usual caveats about correlation vs causation. But as long as the study only says that older people share more fake news, they have done their job well. What you are raising doubts about is why they share more fake news.

      1. Jtom Bronze badge

        Re: Level of engagement?

        No, I think this is more the question of, why are the young so disinterested in the news that they don’t share it, fake or not.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feh

    People just get tired. I'm sure you know what I mean. Re-learning things is very difficult after a certain age, and takes serious commitment. I don't blame people for relaxing and letting others take over. To be honest the idea gets more seductive every year.

    But I'll never submit! These young pups are stupid, stupid, stupid! The whole world is rotting from the head down! Things were so much better in the Good Old Days!

    Where's my remote...

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Feh

      Honestly, I blame the Scythians, coming into the Empire and settling a bad example.

  9. Archtech Silver badge

    Or, just maybe...

    Older people, with much more experience of life, may be able to see that what someone (usually anonymous) has casually labelled "fake news" is actually the truth - whereas what the media are all saying is false.

    For instance, a few years ago they might have been forwarding stories about how Iraq did NOT have any WMD. And Colonel Qadafi had NOT issued his soldiers with Viagra. And the Syrian government did NOT use poison gas. And the Russians did NOT shoot down MH17. And the Russians did not "collude" to make Donald Trump President. And...

    Just saying.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Re: Or, just maybe...

      ...Or the Earth is flat, or the moon is made out of cheese.

      also, you do know that there's a third option? the "I don't know"?

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Or, just maybe...

        What has your comment to do with mine? I honestly can't see any connection, except for a vague feeling of incredulity. But what are you incredulous about? What is your precise objection?

    2. Archtech Silver badge

      Another example, just today - one of hundreds

      Here is a typical example of what you might fairly call "fake news", which I just saw a moment ago. Originally reported as a clear-cut proof of the Trump team passing important information, through intermediaries, to Russian oligarchs. And loudly trumpeted by all those who detest Trump and Russia.

      Then... oops, turns out the information was actually send to Ukrainian oligarchs - deadly enemies of Russia, but on very good terms with Washington. (Victoria Nuland, $5 billion, cookies, Yats is the man, etc.) So a short retraction was published... while the rest of the media and many politicians went on spreading the original "fake news".

      https://www.rt.com/usa/448427-manafort-russia-collusion-polling/

      Ah, I hear you cry, why have you cited RT? Simple really - you won't find this story in any of the Western media. The fake news is published, a day or two later a quiet retraction follows, but everyone goes on citing the fake news as if it were true.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another example, just today - one of hundreds

        Then... oops, turns out the information was actually send to Ukrainian oligarchs - deadly enemies of Russia,

        Ukraine has both. As in everything else. Historically, it is a very divided country where the west has sided with Poland, Crimean Tatars with the Turkish Empire and the East as well as some of the South + most of of non-Tatar Crimea with Russia. Depending on who and where you pick you get completely different opinions. Oligarchs are no exception.

        As far as the people mentioned in the aforementioned RT article and its original NYT source they are from the EAST - the pro-Russian side. In fact members of that political grouping stated that Kremlin was right to take Crimea which AFAIK resulted in a brawls on Ukrainian primetime TV (you can google it) and in the parliament (you can google that too). So in fact, they are even more political than Deripaska as a destination for documents. The sole difference is that we can't put them on a sanction list as they happen to be members of a parliament of one of our client states.

        1. Turbo Beholder

          Re: Another example, just today - one of hundreds

          Right now it may be greatly simplified: pro-State Dept/Soros/etc vs. everyone else.

          See also video titled "Joe Biden Inappropriately Touches Ukraine".

      2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Another example, just today - one of hundreds

        RT is your source?!? The original American newspaper printed its own correction. They weren't 'outed' by RT. And yes, as the other resplier has said, Ukraine has a huge pro-Russian, actively-working-for-Russia part of it, mostly in the east, and the ones who aren't, mostly in the west.

        In any case, Ukraine is STILL a foreign government and the information Manafort was sharign was with a foreign gov't. If he shared with the UK or Canada, it would still be against the law.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Another example, just today - one of hundreds

          Ukraine has a huge pro-Russian, != actively-working-for-Russia part of it

          As an example the majority of the population in Serbia, Bulgaria and Monte-Negro is pro-Russian. It does not mean that it is actively working on their behalf. Similarly, their counterparts which are "on our side" are usually not working on our behalf either. That means both intentionally and unintentionally - in fake news amplification terms. As they tend to be more aware about the other side culture, history and current affairs they make for a poor medium for fake news social media amplification.

          There is a long history in stretching the "sympathy" to a stitched up "collusion and collaboration" sticker. Senator McCarthy is a good example. Similarly, there is a long history of f***ing things up by through the assumption that "sympathy to us" stretches to "collusion and collaboration". Take every second intervention in recent history and every intervention in Afghanistan as an example.

          As far as Ukraine demographics, provided that voter turnout is evenly distributed across demographics (it usually isn't - west is more politically active), they GUARANTEE pro-Russian majority in parliament if all of its territories including Crimea vote. In fact, even without Crimea it will be ~ 50:50. The current hunta has a plan for that - it was quite entertaining observing their foreign minister waxing lyrically about disenfranchising all of the population in Donbass and Crimea after they are returned because they can "pervert democracy". That was all in the presence of the USA ambassador who was nodding in agreement and smiling full hilt.

          In fact, the plan is partially in action already to rig the incoming election - their election commission decided to close all foreign voting stations in countries which house a predominantly pro-Russian refugee population. That is a 750K+ vote rig. USA congressional gerrymanders should take some lessons. This happened on Wednesday this week if memory serves me right. Not covered by our media of course - contradicts the "democratic narrative".

    3. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Or, just maybe...

      Would any of the four downvoters of my original comment like to tell us what it is that they disagree with?

      Do they believe that all elderly people are necessarily foolish, confused and incompetent?

      Or do they disagree with any (or all) of my examples of fake news that was propagated by the mainstream media, but turned out to be utterly untrue? In which case, which and why?

      Oh, I forgot to add the utterly ridiculous Skripal saga.

      http://www.theblogmire.com/summing-up-the-official-claims-in-the-salisbury-poisonings-weighed-in-the-balances-and-found-wanting/

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Or, just maybe...

        I notice that someone has now been going through my previous comments - before this thread - methodically downvoting them.

        Nice - and mature.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Or, just maybe...

          I notice that someone has now been going through my previous comments - before this thread - methodically downvoting them.

          There are a couple of patriotic trolls which start from a comment which is opposing the official view and will downvote systematically from there onwards. Not sure if they get paid for this, as a site El Reg is probably way down in the priorities of the 77th Brigade (we should buy the Reg staff a beer or two for uncovering the original details on that unit, one virtual attached).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Or, just maybe...

          You're not going to make many friends here by mentioning such things. Most posters at the Reg automatically follow the PC line without thinking about it too much. I've tried to do what you're doing and the downvotes just pour in like the sea. I think it's because most techies are not very interested in politics, so they're only exposed to ideas found in the major media, if that. Oh, eventually a lot of them will age a bit and wise up a bit, but that takes time.

          1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

            "a lot of them will age a bit and wise up a bit"

            Winning an argument by insulting people... that's a bold strategy. Let's see if it pays off.

            C.

        3. Mooseman Bronze badge

          Re: Or, just maybe...

          "I notice that someone has now been going through my previous comments - before this thread - methodically downvoting them"

          Or....and I know this might be a shock....they disagree with you. Calling someone immature simply for not accepting your point of view is....immature.

      2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        I didn't downvote you

        but I think I know why those four people did. Probably something to do with the fact that you falsely claimed that the oligarchs in question are anti-Russian. Even the RT report you link to wouldn't go that far and it's RT.

        (For the uninitiated there are pro and anti Russian groups in Ukraine — they tend not to get along.)

        In short your claim of fake news is, surprise, fake news.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: I didn't downvote you

          Francis Boyle, both Rinat Akhmetov and Serhiy Lyovochkin have been living and running their businesses in Kiev since the illegal coup four years ago. They are clearly acceptable to the Kiev junta; if they were not they would have suffered consequences, or fled to Russia to avoid them.

          Lyovochkin seems to be good at keeping in with all sides; but the fact that he is an MP in the Kiev Verkhovna Rada demonstrates his acceptance of the illegal junta. When his TV station was attacked and set on fire in 2016, he had this to say (inter alia):

          "It is popular these days to point to Russian propaganda, if not Russian interference in political affairs, as our greatest threat. It looms so large that we forget to consider local factors that undermine our freedom and integrity as a nation. True to this trend, the terrorists who attacked our station accused us of being pro-Russian. This is not true. If it were, why would millions of Ukrainians tune into our news programs every evening?...

          "If we are to keep alive the hope of integration with the West, we will need the help of those who share our values of democracy and free expression to let the Kiev government know that we are not alone in this fight".

          https://www.politico.eu/article/in-ukraine-media-freedom-under-fire-serhiy-lyovochkin-inter-protest-demonstration-power-critics/

          As the following article explains, Akhmetov is upset that property belonging to one of his companies was seized by the Donbass authorities. Since the Donbass republics are supported by Russia - and, indeed, are mostly populated by people of Russian descent - that alone would be enough to make Akhmetov an enemy of Russia.

          https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-billionaire-akhmetov-fight-seizures/28343282.html

          1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: I didn't downvote you

            As I have said elsewhere in this thread, it's the SHARING of polling info with ANY foreign government. Iceland, Ireland, anyone outside the USA. That sort of sharing is a crime in the USA.

        2. M.V. Lipvig

          Re: I didn't downvote you

          So you agree that there is fake news. Nice. It's not that far a stretch to get to "and it's committed by both left leaning and right leaning news organizations, not just one or the other."

      3. Toni the terrible

        Re: Or, just maybe...

        I am an 'older' person and am not so foolish/confused/incontentent, except sometimes like everyone else. I ceased reading the News papers years ago when I realised the content was usually gossip or propaganda long before the fake news thing. I never really belive much on the interweb either. Am I uninformed? Who knows? I still get all the same stuff from other sources, its unavoidable. True of False will we ever know?

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Or, just maybe...

      Just saying.

      First of all, you forgot the sarcasm tags. As a result, the humour deprived part of the commentariat which did not notice that they need a towel to wipe the sarcasm oozing out of the monitor voted you down.

      Second, selecting opposition to the "government approved media narrative" for snark purposes may have unintended consequences when "our" enlightened governments dons asbestos pants and goes lying full hilt while deploying Integrity and other mobs to support their narrative. Ditto for the opposition when they trigger the Internet Research faecal launcher. Works for a while, but when the final results come in, the egg ends up meeting face with a nice smack.

      For example, I suggest reading the original documents of the OPCW Syria mission. They are quite clear that the last 3 alleged nerve gas incidents including the one that caused the massive rocket ejaculation have proven presence of Chlorine on site, no nerve gas decomposition products on site taken by the OPCW itself and extensive presence of nerve gas decomposition products in the samples "supposedly" collected on site and submitted to 3rd party labs abroad. Read the docs themselves:

      https://www.opcw.org/fact-finding-mission

      So actually, OPCW says that there was no nerve gas and it goes to within a couple of millimetres to declare that the samples were tampered with. That is what the reports say - do we like it or not (*).

      Quite funny how this did not get reported in the news by the way.

      So back on the subject - there is a BIG difference between fake news and opposing narratives. Opposing narratives can and will be verified one day. It is a reality of today's world - everything is stored in at least one computer and anything that is stored will end up leaking or being hacked. Additionally, there is quite often an independent 3rd party source of information like for example the marine transponder tracking for the Crimea incident. Real fake news of the kind which I often get from my mom (and other grandma age people are sharing) has none of it. It is outrageously fake.

      (*)It is expected as a combined Chlorine + Sarin delivery can exist only in the delusions of a humanities graduate. A chemist (which I used to be in past life) will choke on his coffee seeing that as an idea.

      1. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Or, just maybe...

        Voland's right hand, there was no sarcasm in my comment. As to the example you wrote about, the "Syrian chemical weapons" nonsense, I wrote that older people might well have been forwarding stories that said "the Syrian government did NOT use poison gas" - and that those stories were NOT fake.

        So you seem to be agreeing with me.

        You also write, "Real fake news of the kind which I often get from my mom (and other grandma age people are sharing) has none of it. It is outrageously fake".

        As it happens, I am 70 years old and do quite a lot of forwarding (mostly within my family). I do so precisely to give my family the advantage of some filtering, so they see the stories that are interesting, useful and (probably) true. As opposed to the wall-to-wall lies in the media.

        I don't like the insinuation that I am disseminating "fake news", because I am not. Exactly the opposite: I spent a lot of time and effort getting to the bottom of things before I pass anything on.

        The idea that old or elderly people are less intelligent, shrewd, experienced or generally capable than younger ones is appalling. It's "ageist" (one -ism that apparently no one minds in the least) and it is utterly counterfactual. I often see patronising articles and books with titles like "Computers for the Elderly". Well, I have news for the authors and publishers of those: the Internet, and computers, were invented and pioneered by people who are now quite old. Alan Turing, had he survived, would now be approaching his 107th birthday.

        And still no one has explained all the down votes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Or, just maybe...

          I've been downvoted 18329 times and counting, for posting just like you do. Better get used to it. Oh, and better be careful when your points are really strong, because that's when the deluge starts, oy.

          Funny tho, on those occasions I rarely get any responses, just a lot of downvotes.

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: Or, just maybe...

            Thanks, Big John. Well, it's the debate that matters, not the votes. After all, this isn't social media.

            1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

              Re: Or, just maybe...

              Oh, you two...go sit in the corner with Bombastic Bob and have your pity party quietly. You poor things.

  10. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Daily Mail & co

    Must be sitting back smugly.

    Oh look, an academic study seems to have stumbled on how we pull our readership's strings.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Don't believe ANY of it

    "Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know."

    — Michael Crichton

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Don't believe ANY of it

      Thanks, Gene. Although I think that "don't believe any of it" is a council of despair. My strategy has been to look online and at selected books, using a "friend of a friend" method to assess reliability. But one always has to bear in mind that even the greatest and best of us have gaps in their knowledge. The very best are those who tell it as they see it about what they know, and decline to opinionate on other topics, saying, "I just don't know, and I don't wish to guess". What Montaigne called "epoche", after the ancient Greek Pyrrhonists and other sceptics.

      My own epiphany came about 35 years ago, when I was working for DEC. I turned on the radio while driving somewhere - just for diversion - and happened to hear Caspar Weinberger (at the time US Secretary of Defense) inveighing against some ghastly scofflaws who had tried to export a VAX 11/782 to the USSR. It was put to him that the US government had approved the export of several VAX 11/780s to the USSR, so what was the big difference?

      Weinberger replied that a VAX 11/782 was to an 11/780 as a 16-inch naval gun was to a Colt 45.

      As I had quite recently installed and maintained both machines, I knew that an 11/782 was actually two 11/780s sharing a memory - an asymmetric multi-processing (ASMP) design - and had an absolute maximum performance (if well programmed for a suitable application) of about 1.7 times an 11/780. Under some workloads it would actually perform worse than an 11/780.

      That was the moment when it occurred to me that people in high office could stand up and deliberately tell appalling, immense lies. The Secretary of Defense cannot possibly have been ignorant of the simple facts I explain above. The only explanation of what he said was that he knew hardly any listeners would know he was lying - and so he lied.

      1. TomG

        Re: Don't believe ANY of it

        Or, he could have been repeating what some VAX 11/782 salesman had told him.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Don't believe ANY of it

          Balls, TomG.

          First, why would a DEC salesman have been talking to the Secretary of Defense? Weinberger would have consulted some of his own experts - and you can believe the Pentagon knows a LOT about computers, especially leading American brands.

          Second, DEC sales people were honest. Really. They didn't even get paid commission, because Ken Olsen didn't want them selling customers equipment they didn't need. Or lying. Or even exaggerating.

          1. TomG

            Re: Don't believe ANY of it

            And, you are going to tell me that you knew/know every DEC salesman personally.

    2. Glenturret Single Malt

      Re: Don't believe ANY of it

      Re Gene Cash

      You state a view that I have often observed myself. I have frequently been shocked/appalled/disappointed by the inaccuracy of detail in newspaper articles about a familiar scientific subject (in my case, chemistry). As a consequence, I now mistrust any articles on other areas of science with which I am less familiar.

  12. Luke Worm

    “Senior Americans aged 65 years and older” … like Donald J. Trump

    1. Jtom Bronze badge

      And like Hillary Clinton. No matter who was elected, you could make the same observation, so why bother?

      1. Mooseman Bronze badge

        Because Clinton clearly isn't in the early stages of dementia, unlike Trump

  13. cosymart
    Meh

    Share.... Nooo!!!

    I have given up pointing out to members of my wider family (mainly female) that the post that they have just shared is either Fake/False/Rubbish/2 years+ old or all of them. I just block them :-(

  14. Andytug

    Yup, same here...

    All the chain messages, fake news, fake police warnings, etc I get are passed on by friends of my parents and their friends, all over 65.

    Mind you, some of them read the Mail and Express, so colour me surprised...….

  15. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    Any news...

    ...on the chocolate ration?

    Just asking.

  16. tim 13

    Anecdote, not data, but in my experience, there seems to be a certain type of person who always shares really old things, like missing people from years ago (who were found shortly after) etc. I wonder if there is any correlation between those and fake news sharers?

  17. Turbo Beholder
    Trollface

    Why are you sure this study itself isn't fake news?

    What's with "crisis of reproducibility" and all.

    Sometimes a rabbit hole just goes round and round.

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