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A digital media literacy intervention for older adults improves resilience to fake news


Older adults are especially susceptible to fake news online, possibly because they are less digitally literate compared to younger individuals. Interventions for older adults have emerged to improve digital literacy, although there has been little evaluation of their effectiveness in improving older adults’ resilience to fake news. We report the results of a digital literacy intervention for older adults administered during the 2020 U.S. election. The intervention was a 1-hour, self-directed series of interactive modules designed to teach concepts and skills for identifying misinformation online. Consistent with our pre-registered hypothesis, older adults (Mage = 67) in the treatment condition (N = 143) significantly improved their likelihood of accurately discerning fake from true news from 64% pre-intervention to 85% post-intervention. In contrast, older adults in the control condition (N = 238) did not significantly improve (from 55% to 57%). The treated older adults were also more likely to employ strategies for identifying misinformation online compared to pre-intervention and the control group.

Ryan C. Moore
Jeffrey T. Hancock
Scientific Reports
Publication Date
April 9, 2021