The end of an era for fake news: strict rules for the big players
When someone lies, Machiavelli said, there is always someone willing to believe that mistruth. Centuries later, Hitler, the sociopathic manipulator par excellence, rejoined that the larger the lie is, the more it will be shared and believed. The phenomenon of fake news has always existed, but today it is spreading in a powerful way thanks to the anonymity that users are guaranteed, but this is not the only reason.
Or rather, identifying those who post fake news is not the only way to vanquish the trend. The major search engines and social networks must play the role of a real publishing system, with the related responsibilities that have always been linked to journalism and the production and dissemination of news.
Finally, the big boys in high tech should guarantee the pluralism of information and propose, through special algorithms (already being used by some), affirmation x and also, automatically, declaration y to the user who surfs the net.
With these rules and on the basis of a new awareness, above all moral and ethical, the sector of free information of navigators can be regulated, so that it becomes an experience that does not speak just to the belly, to fears, to social and personal grudges, but a source of objective and serious knowledge, as reliable as journalistic sources.
Who will pay? As far as simple fines are concerned, like that of the 3/5 billion dollars that FB risks paying for the Cambridge Analytica case, the damage is limited and can be budgeted for; but when the indictment is of having manipulated the votes of millions of people through the indiscriminate collection of information on the net from profiles and sensitive data, the fact is much more serious and the question becomes important.
The risk that the big monopoly players run is precisely that of losing their exclusive privileged position and being broken up, as was the case for many US companies in the 1980s. If the investigations carried out by Europe take hold in the US too, the giants of the web will be forced to review and rethink their growth strategies.