The Free Speech Has Been Hacked. Can We Solve the Problem?

Alberto Puliafito
7 min readJun 29, 2019
Newseum, Washington D.C.

Since the end of 2016 in the journalistic ecosystem, we started talking about fake news and post-truth age.

I personally found fake news a ridiculous fake label, since we have always had problems of disinformation and misinformation, propaganda and hoaxes and so on. Fake news is a contemporary version of an old issue.

Donation of Constantine was a fake document which gave the Catholic Churc ha huge power in the central part of Italy. It took 500 years to discover and prove that it was a fake document. Now, if a piece of fake news is spreading, we can debunk it in a few minutes. Of course, the engagement of fake news is more effective than the debunk, but we can work on that, since like every ecosystem, the media ecosystem contains both preys and predators, both problems and solutions.

Moreover, there is a huge problem with the use of fake news: the problem is that in a while, everybody will accuse everybody else to lie. Everybody is the fake news of someone else. And that’s exactly what is happening.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that we are not struggling in the media landscape. That’s the reason why we need to be very careful about the terms we use.

An omni-comprehensive definition of fake news could sound like this:

«Fake news is false information, delivered with a profit purpose».

The profit purpose could be economical, political, personal, whatever. According to this definition, the so-called fake news could be a hoax or a false statement, a number given in a misleading way, a story told without contest, a lie, a factoid, a mistake, and so on. In this set of fake news, you will find completely invented stories published by websites pretending to be accountable sources or misleading stories published by real newspapers.

Online we can find content delivered through websites and fast engaging a huge amount of people. But the problem is not only online. We know also that in several…

Alberto Puliafito

Slow News Editor-in-Chief. My nickname is Malaparte. I resist against state of emergency. Formerly Blogo. Director, SEO, communication strategist.