Just like much of the content on the internet, fake news is funded largely by advertising. Therefore, this week Facebook announced that pages that share “fake news,” or false stories masquerading as truth, will no longer be allowed to advertise on its platform. The goal is straightforward: to punish pages that link to stories that are marked as “false” by third-party fact-checkers from making money.
At last week’s RightsCon in Brussels, much of the talk was about “fake news” and what to do about it. I was on one of several panels devoted to the topic and found the conversation enlightening. Here’s what I said and some of my reactions from the panel.
The panel’s title was “Resisting Content Regulation in the Post-Truth World: How to Fix Fake News and the Algorithmic Curation of Social Media.” So, unsurprisingly, the panelists largely agreed that the government should stay out of the way. I met no resistance when I said that freedom of expression means that governments should not determine what is or and what is not fake news; that’s a path to censorship, and we don’t want to go there.
I also got buy-in from my second big point, which was that Internet platforms are playing and ought to play a crucial role in controlling the spread of fake news.
This role has two distinct components. Platforms ha ...