Facebook Full of Fake News, Say Young Users

Young Americans say they believe nearly half of the news shared on Facebook is false and President Donald Trump tweets too much.

They also want to help unite America but find public service unappealing.

Those are among the findings from recent interviews with 2,600 young Americans — age 18 – 29 — by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics in Massachusetts.

The poll, released Tuesday, found 81 percent of young people questioned nationwide by Harvard use Facebook.

But most consider a lot of the news on Facebook to be “untrue.”

Earlier this month, Facebook said it is removing accounts of people who send out “fake news” stories.

The poll also found that 68 percent of young people say they believe President Trump tweets too much.

Only 11 percent say his tweets are “appropriate.”

In the 2016 presidential election, only half of 18- to 29-year-olds voted, according to a report by the Brookings Institution.

But 74 percent of young people polled by Harvard say voting is one of the best ways to produce change.

Only 1-in-4 young Americans say that public service work is appealing. Public service typically means working for the federal government in a job or on a project.

Rhea Malik is a Harvard University senior who worked on the poll. She said it might be that fewer students find public service appealing because they don’t trust America’s elected officials.

Another finding by Harvard researchers is that nearly 60 percent of young Americans want to do what they can to help unite America and not further divide it.

On Monday, former President Barack Obama said because of social media, young people read and listen to only those who agree with them. That, he said, divides America and makes it more difficult for leaders to govern.

Other poll results showed a conflict in attitude about law and order.

Many young people have protested against the use of deadly force by police against African-Americans and other minorities.

But nearly half of young Americans said “empowering” law enforcement that ending the “anti-police atmosphere” will “make America better”

Nearly half of young people told Harvard that temporarily banning visas from Muslim-majority nations would make America worse.

That compares to 1-in-4 young people who say that such a policy would make America better.

President Trump has issued two orders temporarily banning travel from some Muslim majority nations. Both were blocked by federal judges.

On trade, three out of five young Americans say they agree with Trump’s plan to end unfair trade practices with other nations.

Ten percent of young people gave the new president an A, the top grade, for his job performance in his first 100 days in office.

Forty-one percent of young Americans gave the new president an F, a failing grade.

The poll found young voters who call themselves Republican have more close relationships with gun owners, police officers and military veterans than Democrats.

Young people who call themselves Democrats have more close relationships with people who are LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or questioning their sexuality) and with Muslims than Republicans.

John Della Volpe is polling director at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. He is happy that nearly 60 percent of young people told Harvard researchers that they want to help unite the country.

“While we spend a lot of time talking about what divides us, younger millennials are seeking leaders who will unite us,” he said. That is “both good government and good politics.”