A new study claims that young people are more likely to believe COVID-19 misinformation. As public officials warn about the increasing coronavirus cases among young people, a group of researchers suggests that Americans below 25 years old have a higher chance of believing virus-related false information.
This includes the disease's severity and origin. The new research conducted a survey involving 21,196 people from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The scientists were able to determine a clear generational division.
The participants who are 18 to 25 years old had an 18% probability of believing a false coronavirus claim. On the other hand, those above 65 years old had a 9% chance of believing COVID-19 misinformation.
The new study was conducted by researchers from Rutgers University, Harvard University, Northwestern University, and Northeastern University.
The new research contradicts the previous study about older people spreading false news
The new research contradicts a previous study, which stated that older people were more likely to share fake news articles on social media. The paper published in the journal Science Advances explained that fake news had renewed concerns about the effects and prevalence of misinformation in political campaigns.
It focused on examining the individual-level characteristics linked with sharing false articles during the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign. The researchers uniquely link an original survey with the respondents' sharing activities in their Facebook profile data.
The discovered that people above 65 years old were seven times more likely to share false articles than 30 to 44 years old. The fake information mostly came from websites that spread misinformation back in 2016.
On the other hand, the latest study asked the participants to gauge their acceptance of 11 fake claims. These include that COVID-19 came from people who ate bats, that 60 years old people or older are the only ones who could be infected, and that taking antibiotics protects against the viral disease.
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Written by: Giuliano de Leon.