Ofcom has decided that we all need to be protected from ourselves:
Most people reading news on unregulated platforms such as Google and Facebookcannot tell the difference between it and other content, Ofcom has warned.
The regulator said the reason was because social media, often accessed on smartphones, ‘blurs the boundaries’.
This has a ‘detrimental’ impact on how users question the world around them and ‘important implications for our democracy’.
The answer being, of course, that an organisation - say, Ofcom - should take responsibility for managing what is fake news and what is not-fake. How surprising, a bureaucracy arguing that it should be paid to extend its tentacles.
The underlying problem here though is rather more serious than just that burst of realism about tentacleness. It is, well, which news is fake? And who gets to decide?
Imagine that we did have some arbiter of what was true, what was not. Then the definition of truth will be whatever the consensus is, wouldn't it? Something which might well benefit those who agree with that status quo in beliefs but does rather militate against the basic ideas of either free speech or a free press.
Yes, of course, actual free speech and press is messy, chaotic and not as many would like. But that's rather the point, so is liberty those three things. Trying to limit that press and speech will be a constraint upon that liberty too.