It can be difficult to tell real news from fake on social media, especially for seniors who aren't as internet-savvy. But a new digital-literacy project from the Poynter Institute aims to help. MediaWise for Seniors offers free online courses to help older Americans sniff out and fight online misinformation, Paula Span reports for The New York Times.
The MediaWise program began in 2018 with funding from Google, and at first focused on teens and college students. But they recently decided to retool the program for seniors. "The online behavior of older Americans during the last presidential campaign alarmed scientists who study communications, politics and technology," Span reports. Seniors were at least twice as likely to share fake news on Facebook, the social media platform they use most, during the 2016 election. That's especially concerning because older adults are far more likely to register and vote than younger adults.
"There was a desperate need to educate this older age group, not only because of the election but because of the coronavirus," program manager Katy Byron told Span. Seniors are the highest-risk age group for poor outcomes from the coronavirus.