Run for the hills in panic! US elections still remain unprotected from lies, exaggerations, and fake news.
The alarm bell is being rung about Kremlin-created lies, as if all else on the internet is the truth.
The truth though is that the internet is richly-laced with falsehoods and they emanate not only from Russia, but also from American PACs, political campaign organizations, alternative media, the mainstream media, and even our own government. There are no sources with an immaculate record.
Who then can be appointed to fairly screen all material and determine which items should be censored? Yes, it is censorship that is what is being proposed in the Atlantic article. How exactly can the election be protected from the onslaught of fake news without censoring the internet? This censorship would go far far beyond the usual national security, copyright infringement, and libel restrictions and prohibitions on free speech.
That’s the real danger. The public needs protection less from fake news than from the would-be censors who want to decide what others can see.
There are already many services that rank the veracity of specific news items. These various fact-checkers do not always agree about what is factual. But that is where the solution exists, in more news and discussion, in which fake items can be exposed and discredited, and others can be disputed.
Some people want to blame fake news for the 2016 election result surprise. They want to protect the electorate from news that might be at odds with their political orthodoxy. They regard protecting the election as a way to introduce government imposed political correctness.
They are free to unmask fake news and Russian disinformation campaigns. They should not be allowed to shackle the internet under the guise of protecting the election.