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Generation Z Beats Boomers in Spotting Fake News

FILE - A screenshot of a Buzzfeed News graph on fake news analysis (courtesy of Buzzfeed News)
FILE - A screenshot of a Buzzfeed News graph on fake news analysis (courtesy of Buzzfeed News)

Members of so-called Generation Z are less – not more – likely to fall for the spread of misinformation and fake news, according to recent studies and polls published by news outlet Axios.

A recent study published in Science Advances found that Americans older than 65 – also known as baby boomers – are more likely to share fake news links on Facebook than younger Americans born after 1996 (Generation Z).

Survey data from 2016 showed that boomers shared nearly seven times as many fake news articles on Facebook than younger Americans between the ages of 18 and 29.

“Our most robust and consistent finding is that older Americans were more likely to share articles from fake news domains,” stated the study. “This relationship holds even when we condition on other factors, such as education, party affiliation, ideological self-placement, and overall posting activity.”

Among Gen Z college students, 83% receive most of their news from online news sites and social media, Axios reported from a College Reaction poll of 868 students.

Social media and online content play a huge role as Gen Z’s source of information. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey focused on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, “95% of 13- to 17-year-olds have access to a smartphone, and a similar share (97%) use at least one of seven major online platforms.”

But only 7% of Gen Z college students found social media to be the most trustworthy news source. Instead, more than 50% of Gen Z students said they believe online newspapers and news sites to be the most trustworthy, Axios reported.

The gap between the sharing of false information among age groups could be because of Gen Z and younger Americans’ better understanding of social media and the distribution of online content, Axios stated.

Gen Z’s online experience with social media could be what makes them more likely to spot the difference between credible sources and fake news.

Alexandra Macia contributed to this report.

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Universities in Middle East building research relationships with China  

FILE - University students display the flag of the Communist Party of China to mark the party's 100th anniversary during an opening ceremony of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei, September 10, 2021.
FILE - University students display the flag of the Communist Party of China to mark the party's 100th anniversary during an opening ceremony of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei, September 10, 2021.

As China bolsters research relationships with universities in the Middle East, the United States has taken notice – especially when that research involves artificial intelligence.

Reporting for University World News, Yojana Sharma has the story. (March 2024)

Tips for staying safe while studying in the US

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2019 photo, Sgt. Jason Cowger, with Johns Hopkins University's Campus Safety and Security department, walks on the university's campus in Baltimore.
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2019 photo, Sgt. Jason Cowger, with Johns Hopkins University's Campus Safety and Security department, walks on the university's campus in Baltimore.

Recent news events have raised safety concerns among some international students studying in the United States.

Adarsh Khandelwal, writing in the India Times, has tips for staying safe from the moment you arrive until the day you complete your studies. (March 2024)

Some colleges are making digital literacy classes mandatory

FILE - A teacher librarian at a Connecticut high school, left, works with a student in a Digital Student class, Dec. 20, 2017. The required class teaches media literacy skills and has the students scrutinize sources for their on-line information.
FILE - A teacher librarian at a Connecticut high school, left, works with a student in a Digital Student class, Dec. 20, 2017. The required class teaches media literacy skills and has the students scrutinize sources for their on-line information.

A 2019 study by Stanford found that most college students can’t tell the difference between real and fake news articles. Amid rampant online disinformation, and the threat of AI-generated images, some schools are making students learn “digital literacy” to graduate.

Lauren Coffeey reports for Inside Higher Ed. (March 2024)

With federal student aid delays, students aren’t sure what college will cost 

File - Students make their way through the Sather Gate near Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley, campus March 29, 2022, in Berkeley, Calif.
File - Students make their way through the Sather Gate near Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley, campus March 29, 2022, in Berkeley, Calif.

The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student aid form (FAFSA) experienced serious glitches and delays this year.

Now, many students have been admitted to college, but don’t know how much money they’ll need to attend.

Read the story from Susan Svrluga and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel for The Washington Post. (March 2024)

Senator draws attention to universities that haven’t returned remains

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, speaks with reporters as he walks to a vote on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington.
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, speaks with reporters as he walks to a vote on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington.

More than 70 U.S. universities continue to hold human remains taken from Native American burial sites, although those remains were supposed to be returned 30 years ago.

Jennifer Bendery writes in Huffington Post that one senator has been using his position in an attempt to shame universities into returning remains and artifacts. (April 2024)

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