This sounds like a recipe for disaster. Who is going to judge the quality of news and issue the fines?
Campus Reform reports:
EXCLUSIVE: Boston University prof suggests TAXING fake news
A Boston University professor is suggesting tackling the problem of fake news by taxing it.
BU business professor Marshall Van Alstyne advocated the approach in a recent BU news release, expanding on the concept in an interview with Campus Reform. Van Alstyne says it is important to note that he does not want the censoring of free speech, but rather an accountability system for harmful fake news.
“You could sample messages, find out some proportion of false and damning information, and then tax in proportion to the damage that’s being done,” Van Alstyne told BU. “What you’re doing is you’re taxing the damage. You’re not taxing the speech.”
“The simplest definition [of fake news] is information that causes harm at scale,” he said, suggesting that it may have cropped up in the 2016 presidential election and Brexit.
“[The point is] to recognize disinformation as a form of pollution in your news feed just like carbon monoxide in your air supply or dioxin in your water stream,” the professor explained to Campus Reform. “Social media platforms effectively pick up and amplify anything that generates engagement, regardless of whether this creates happiness or harm.”
Van Alstyne emphasized that he does not want to regulate free speech, but instead the consequences of it.
“The tradeoffs are difficult to balance on both sides,” he told Campus Reform. “The extremes are easy: On one hand, we don’t allow outright lies about products or people’s character, and on the other hand, we must promote free speech even of unpopular opinions — abolishing slavery and promoting women’s suffrage were once unpopular. The middle ground is hard and mechanisms that police speech must be applied very delicately and with great caution.”
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