The Problem of Fake News

  • Starts: 3:45 pm on Wednesday, February 27, 2019
  • Ends: 5:00 pm on Wednesday, February 27, 2019
The problem of spreading misinformation is ancient, hard to solve, yet pressing due to ongoing voter influence campaigns and sovereign interference in European, Latin American, and U.S. elections. After examining key attributes of “fake news” and of current solutions, Questrom Prof. Marshall Van Alstyne argues that the issues are not restricted to truth or to scale alone. Surprisingly, there exist boundary cases when a just society is better served by a mechanism that allows lies to pass, just as there are alternate boundary cases when it should put friction on truth. Harm reflects an interplay of lies, scale, and externalities. Single factor solutions fail in multi-factor problems.

In this Cyber Alliance talk, Prof. Van Alstyne will discuss his article that presents trade-offs in the design of a Fair News Distribution Mechanism and proposes three interventions. One intervention is incentive compatible with news platform business models, while the others imply regulatory oversight. One applies friction not just to lies but also to liars, and the others balance externalities, rights in information, and public access to that information.

There will be time for casual conversation and light refreshments before and after the presentation. Please RSVP to

**PLEASE NOTE start time, later than usual**
School of Law, 15th Floor Faculty Lounge, 765 Commonwealth Ave.

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