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Young Adults Still Can't Identify Fake News, Study Finds

BOSTON, MA (CBS Local) - Can you spot fake news if you read it? A new study has found that many college students and recent graduates think they're tough to fool, however most failed to realize when they were being given bad information online.

Massachusetts-based MindEdge Learning released the results of a recent critical thinking survey they conducted with 1,000 young adults, ages 18 to 31-years-old. The educational technology company found that 59 percent of young professionals are very confident in their critical thinking and digital literacy skills. "This confidence is woefully misplaced," researchers wrote in a May 9 press release.

According to MindEdge's nine-question survey, 52 percent of the respondents incorrectly answered at least four questions and received a failing grade. The number of young adults who could detect false information on the internet went down by all of the group's measures.

Only 19 percent of the college students and grads scored an "A" by getting eight or nine questions correct. That number is down from 24 percent in last year's survey. "Despite a reported increase in soft skills confidence, our research finds that there is still a large – and growing – digital skills gap among millennials entering the workforce," MindEdge communications director Frank Connolly said.

Millennials will surpass baby boomers as the largest voting group in the U.S. in 2019, according to Pew Researcher Center. Their attitudes towards the political process may have already been skewed by a growing reliance on online media.

According to the survey, 45 percent of young adults blame politicians and politically-motivated websites for the spread of "fake news." While millennials say the internet is contributing to the spread of false information, 64 percent of the respondents admit to getting their news from social media platforms.

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