In this chapter, the author considers the ethical acceptability of censoring fake news. Fake news has a number of harmful effects. It deceives people into believing falsehoods, sometimes systematically distorting people’s worldviews. It leaves many sceptical of news sources in general, lessening people’s ability to acquire accurate information. Fake news in a digital environment is just not the same thing as “made-up stories” in a non-digital environment. The essential feature of fake news is that it misleads about its origin. The fake news purveyors who seek a particular political advantage through getting people to believe their stories may intend people to believe their stories. Fake news is speech, and restrictions on speech are typically thought to require a much stronger justification than many other sorts of restrictions, because, as F. Schauer puts it, “Speech is special”. Speech is both a means for developing the capacity for autonomy and a way to exercise it.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)