Boomer blunders: Majority of fake news shared by older Facebook users

And big surprise, most of them were Trumpsters:

They found that Republicans and those who identified as “very conservative” tended to share the most news from questionable sources. But that tendency may have less to do with ideology and more to do with what those articles said: Users tend to share stories they agree with and the fake news sites were disproportionately pro-Trump, the authors said.

The study also found that prolific Facebook users were less likely to post such stories, lending credence to the theory that less active and experienced users may have more trouble discerning between fake and real news.

I have at least "irritated" many Facebook friends for correcting them when they post dubious stories, and more and more these days, it also involves posting dated (sometimes 7-8 years old) stories as if they're happening now. I don't relish that role, and I definitely don't relish having to address this issue:

The “Dry Alabama” Facebook page, illustrated with stark images of car wrecks and videos of families ruined by drink, had a blunt message: Alcohol is the devil’s work, and the state should ban it entirely.

Along with a companion Twitter feed, the Facebook page appeared to be the work of Baptist teetotalers who supported the Republican, Roy S. Moore, in the 2017 Alabama Senate race. “Pray for Roy Moore,” one tweet exhorted.

In fact, the Dry Alabama campaign, not previously reported, was the stealth creation of progressive Democrats who were out to defeat Mr. Moore — the second such secret effort to be unmasked. In a political bank shot made in the last two weeks of the campaign, they thought associating Mr. Moore with calls for a statewide alcohol ban would hurt him with moderate, business-oriented Republicans and assist the Democrat, Doug Jones, who won the special election by a hair-thin margin.

Matt Osborne, a veteran progressive activist who worked on the project, said he hoped that such deceptive tactics would someday be banned from American politics. But in the meantime, he said, he believes that Republicans are using such trickery and that Democrats cannot unilaterally give it up.

Okay, that's a load of crap. I firmly believe in opposition research, and the dissemination (broadly) of any legitimate information that reveals the true nature of a Republican candidate. But that's not (nearly) the same thing as creating an entirely fictional scenario, manned by sock puppets, that seeks to deceive a large group of people.

Look, I'm not being a Boy Scout here, although I do hold ethics and integrity to a possibly higher level than I should sometimes. I'm concerned about the long-term health of the Democratic Party, which includes our ability to regain and hold the trust of the voting populace. I've heard some say we can't afford to *not* play as dirty as the GOP, but I believe the opposite is true. We can't afford to undermine the integrity of tens of thousands of Democratic candidates across the country, which is what happens when a high-profile race like the Alabama Senate contest comes under national scrutiny over Russian-style tactics.

There are lines we don't (or shouldn't) cross, and this is one of them. At the end of the day, deception is the tool that should be put back in the box before being implemented. Go back to the drawing board, and come up with something better.



Social media

I think that part about inexperienced users is important. It goes to that expression, "Too uninformed to know how uninformed they are." A dangerous mix.

Yeah, and their "on again, off again" skepticism

is frustrating as hell. I mean, come on. When you don't believe actual scientists about climate change or the need for vaccinations, but readily accept some patently false and logic-deprived conspiracy theory about a child sex ring operating out of a pizza joint, you've got some damn wires crossed.


Fortunately, it's pretty easy to spot them and block them. I'm up over 500 blocked users, finding new ones every day. I just won't put up with bullshit for one second, especially since blocking is so easy.