Could gambling save democracy? (part 2)

I am reblogging this post from earlier this week (see below) because, in the interim, two intrepid reporters at The Intercept broke this insane story: Truth Cops. To the point, the Department of Homeland Security is actively monitoring the social media accounts of U.S. citizens and is colluding with Big Tech firms to censor what the DHS deems to be false information. Crazy, right? By contrast, in place of the current system–censorship combined with secret surveillance–I have proposed an alternative approach: a “truth market” where people can openly place bets on the probable truth values of conspiracy theories and fake news. I will discuss the details of my truth market in my next post …

prior probability

Is the proliferation of “fake news” and conspiracy theories a threat to democracy? If so, how should we deal with such dangerous ideas and falsehoods? Broadly speaking, there are two general approaches to this problem: one is the Mark Zuckerberg solution, i.e. some combination of censorship (content moderation) and secret computer algorithms; the other is the Elon Musk method, i.e. laissez faire principles and free speech absolutism (everyone is free to post whatever they want).

Which approach do you prefer? Zuckerberg’s or Musk’s? For my part, I won’t dwell on the pros and cons of either approach, except to make the following general observation: neither the Zuckerberg solution nor the Musk method is designed to help us distinguish truth from lies in a reliable manner. One big problem with the Zuckerberg/censorship approach, for example, is that we cannot always determine ahead of time which conspiracy theories are true…

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About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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