“Fake News” would have influenced the two most important political events of the year 2016, namely the Brexit and the defeat of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Starting from such a serious assumption, various American companies including major online services such as Google, Twitter and Facebook have undertaken to signal or even block any content considered “fake” or “likely fake.”
Upstream of an operation as technically arduous as ethically questionable, algorithms would now be in charge of assessing the truthfulness of the news and informing potential readers about it. This way, one hopes to bring more neutrality back into the vast “infosphere” about which one suddenly found out that it spreads rumors and disinformation.
The tardiness of such a finding indicates that it is concretely difficult to stop the spreading of some news without enforcing repressive measures of censorship that are theoretically illegal in Western democracies including the United States. In face of the hunt for fake news has already been building up a response from those who believe that it deliberately targets a specific portion of the voters rather than concrete sources of disinformation.
In the 21st century, information and power will be more than ever synonymous.