Republicans aged 65 and over shared seven times more fake new articles during the US 2016 election than people aged between 18 and 29.
Ninety per cent of people did not share fake news but, of those who did, nearly a fifth (18 per cent) held right-wing beliefs and were of state-pension age, a study found.
Only four per cent of democrats shared links to fake news sites.
Each person of this age group shared 0.75 fake news articles on average, seven times more than millennials.
Authors of the study from Princeton University and New York University say the findings show the need for more education of ‘vulnerable subgroups’ about fake news.
Much has been made of fake news by leader of the republican party and president of the United States, Donald Trump.
Comments made by the commander-in-chief of the US have included a tweet saying: ‘The Fake News Media in our Country is the real Opposition Party’, earlier this week.
Trump won the majority of the vote among people aged 65 and over (54 per cent).
Two other demographics of the US electorate which heavily favoured Trump over Hillary Clinton were white men (62 per cent) and white non-college graduates (64 per cent).
Joshua Tucker, professor of politics at New York University, said: ‘Despite widespread interest in the fake news phenomenon, we know very little about who actually shares fake news.
‘This study takes a first step towards answering this question.
‘Perhaps most significantly, we find that sharing this type of content on Facebook was a relatively rare activity during the 2016 presidential campaign.’
Trump tweeted earlier this week: ‘With all of the success that our Country is having, including the just released jobs numbers which are off the charts, the Fake News & totally dishonest Media concerning me and my presidency has never been worse. Many have become crazed lunatics who have given up on the TRUTH!…
‘…The Fake News will knowingly lie and demean in order make the tremendous success of the Trump Administration, and me, look as bad as possible. They use non-existent sources & write stories that are total fiction. Our Country is doing so well, yet this is a sad day in America!
‘….The Fake News Media in our Country is the real Opposition Party. It is truly the Enemy of the People! We must bring honesty back to journalism and reporting!’
Andrew Guess and colleagues surveyed 3,500 people in three different waves throughout the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
They hoped to shed light on the individual-level characteristics associated with sharing false articles.
Of the respondents, 1,331 people agreed to share their Facebook profile data.
Authors then linked the survey to the their Facebook sharing history throughout 2016.
The shared articles were then cross-referenced against a list of fake news domains.
This group proved only 8.5 per cent shared one or more fake news articles.
Dr Andrew Guess, an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University in the US, said: ‘If seniors are more likely to share fake news than younger people, then there are important implications for how we might design interventions to reduce the spread of fake news.’