Increasingly, I’m frustrated by (and often antagonistic toward) the emergent narrative about how to address so-called “fake news.” My anger is growing, not only because as I write this I’m almost 10 months pregnant and grouchy, but also because I see the possibility of well-intended interventions backfiring. I understand why folks want to do something now — there’s a lot of energy in this space, and the underlying issues at play have significant consequences for democracy and society. Yet what’s happening at this present moment is not actually new. It’s part of a long and complicated history, and it sheds light on a variety of social, economic, cultural, technological, and political dynamics that will not be addressed through simplistic solutions. Racing to implement Band-Aids may feel good, but I worry that such an approach creates a distraction while enabling the underlying issues to flourish.
Google and Facebook Can’t Just Make Fake News Disappear