Attorney Ian Friedman was recently invited to sit on a panel of local experts
for The Sound of Ideas radio show with Mike McIntyre. Attorney Friedman
provided legal insight on several hot topics pertaining to the 2016 election,
including possible legal ramifications for those responsible for the widespread
sharing of fake news.
Sharing Fake News – Is It a Crime?
Attorney Friedman explained that because of technological advances and
the widespread platforms available to the individuals sharing fake news,
it’s a problem that is hard to control. "We're behind the
technology, we're in a reactive state," he told Host Mike McIntyre.
"What we have now are laws that didn't anticipate this type of
broad speech getting out to the millions. We have libel, slander, defamation
and so forth,” Attorney Friedman said. However, addressing the repercussions
of these crimes is going to be extremely difficult. “Once that message
is out there, it's out there... the harm is already done."
Mr. McIntyre and Attorney Friedman discussed the big role that fake news
played on social media in the months that led up to election of Donald
Trump, and whether or not there was a legal remedy against those who produce
"It's really incumbent upon the reader or the listener to decipher
what is true and what's not," Attorney Friedman said. He likened
much of the fake news to the kinds of outrageous tabloid headlines we
often see in supermarket checkout lines.
Free Speech vs. Hate Speech
Mr. McIntyre also addressed the rise in hate speech over the last year,
specifically on platforms like Twitter, which allows many users to anonymously
and publically post hate speech that is often directed at other users.
The host wondered if there were legal protections in place that would
allow officials and authorities to end this activity or punish those who
partake in it.
"Hate speech, as offensive as it may be, as hateful as it may be,
is protected [by the Constitution] and the high court has gone a long
way to protect the First Amendment over the years," Attorney Friedman
Attorney Friedman explained that "Where you get to problematic speech
is that which would illicit a reasonable person to act. Threatening people,
inciting people to act."
View the entire 90.3 WCRN show on
Idea Stream's website:
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