Free Speech, Free Press, and Fake News: What If the Marketplace of Ideas Isn't About Identifying Truth?
36 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2019
Date Written: January 1, 2019
It is important to evaluate fake news not only for the misinformation it contains, but also for the forms of communal identity it facilitates. Fake news can certainly mislead and harm those who consume it. But fake news, like all news, is also used by the public to articulate and confirm a sense of membership. Current efforts to weed out fake news stories from social media platforms and from public discussion are aimed at improving the accuracy of information in circulation. While such efforts may marginally increase the reporting of true information, they will not alter the underlying dynamic of identity formation that leads ordinary people to employ the news as a means of developing feelings of belonging.
Keywords: Fake News, Free Speech, Free Press, Democracy, Truth, Imagined Communities, John Stuart Mill, Alexis de Tocqueville
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