Since the 2016 US Presidential election, the topic of fake news has become extremely prevalent on a global scale. However, the recent issue of disinformation manufactured by malevolent agents has given rise to new potential problems that have led to harmful consequences. Such problematic consequences have led various government institutions to responds in a variety of ways. Given the problematic consequences of these types of actions, should governments intervene by regulating or prohibiting fake news? To answer this question, I present Seana Shiffrin’s unique theory regarding the value of free speech. Within this account, Shiffrin’s follows an autonomy type theory of freedom of speech that emphasizes the central role of participants in speech and cognition. From this theory, Shiffrin gives a clear unique account about the value of speech. In other words, Shiffrin argues that freedom of speech should focus on thinkers themselves and protecting their freedom of thought. Notably, I believe the benefits to this thinker-based theory rival those of other competing theories. More importantly, she able to draw a distinction between sincere and insincere speech. With the potential dangers that fake news poses to the free development and operations of the thinker’s mind, Shiffrin’s compelling view leaves open the possibility that fake news is regulable because insincere speech lacks the value that other speech encompasses.
Castro, Geoffroi G., "A Thinker-Based Perspective on Free Speech and Fake News" (2019). Honors Projects. 19.