miércoles, 31 de enero de 2018

Fake news: The problem is the measures we are not taken

It´s official now. There is a race for regulate the so-called fake news and other harming content between the Brussels bureaucracy and the big European capitals. After the approval of German law, it is the turn for France for rushing before the European Commission presents its own initiative. One of  shared objectives of the three mentioned initiatives is safeguarding democracy from misinformation. However, although there are a positive side on the part of the initiatives, there could be also unforeseen consequences.

On the bright side we have the push for transparency of some the ideas put forward by the French President. Including transparency regarding sponsored content would make clear to the users who is posting some of the pieces of information that are flowing on the network. However, the almost certain consequence is less sponsored content, so the social networks are beginning to reorganise their business model before the proposal be an actual law.

But we should be cautious with other part of these measures against harmful content. On the heart of them there is also the promotion of a more responsible behaviour of platforms. Although I´m in favour of the idea of demanding a bigger liability of platforms, this demand should not be only for the retirement of harmful content within a certain timeframe, there should be also a counterbalance of fines in case the alleged harmful content retired was not such. Otherwise, the consequence would be an excess of caution that would harm freedom of expression, as we are beginning to see wit the application of the German law.

Unfortunately, what it is missing in all these initiatives are measures for facing the enemy at the the real battlefield: the user. Because the real problem are not the fake news but having an audience that gives credit to the news. And this battle is far to be win according with recent polls. So the problem are not only the measures that are being adopted against fake news, but those that nobody are taken.

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