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How to Spot Fake News on Social Media During Election Season

Older adults are becoming more comfortable on the internet – surfing the web, shopping and using social media. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, 40% of adults 65+ use at least one social media website. Social media can be a great place for older adults to stay connected with family and reconnect with old acquaintances. 

But, social media isn’t just about staying in contact with friends. Numerous businesses, media outlets, political figures, etc. are also vying for attention with posts and ads targeted directly to older adults. With all of the information being forced into view, it can be difficult to separate what’s true and what’s false. 

Here are some ways you can help your loved one spot fake posts:

  1. Check the source: Examine who is writing the post, ad, or sharing the link. Do they tend to lean one way or the other? If you or your loved one are ever unsure, you can check out PolitiFact or FactCheck.org, both of which are nonpartisan fact-checking websites. You can also check out Snopes.com, which has been writing about viral claims and online rumors since the mid-1990s. It also maintains a list of known fake news websites.
  2. Think beyond the headline:  Does the news they’re sharing sound too good to be true or just the opposite? Most often, news stories, even from reputable media outlets, write sensational headlines to grab your attention. So, give them what they want and read the whole story, not just the headline.
  3. Check the support: Good articles will cite sources. Even better articles will use trustworthy sources. If a writer makes a claim using a statistic, graphic or picture, make sure you do the research. You can usually do this with a simple Google search or using one of the websites from No. 1.

Not only do you want to make sure that you and your loved one are well-informed, but you also want to make sure you share the truth and don’t spread internet gossip.

At CarePatrol, we want to make sure each client and family are thrilled with the care and attention they are receiving. If you or a loved one needs additional support finding safer living options, you can always reach out to us.

About the author
Haley Kotwicki
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