There’s no clear dividing line between bad journalism and what is often called “fake news”. It’s futile to expect regulators or tech companies to be able to make editorial judgments. But what we can determine easily is the “realness” of a site. Does it have a real-world address, phone number, WhoIs, named contributors – in short, a colophon or impressum. Furthermore, does it adopt basic procedures indicating fairness – does it ever publish apologies, corrections etc? These tests are binary and easy to automate – and would make life much harder for the peddlers of disinformation.
Edward Lucas is a senior editor at The Economist. An expert in energy, intelligence and cybersecurity issues, he covered Central and Eastern Europe for more than 20 years, witnessing the final years of the last Cold War, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet empire, Boris Yeltsin’s downfall and Vladimir Putin’s rise to power. He is also a senior vice-president at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).
From 1992 to 1994, Lucas was managing editor of The Baltic Independent, a weekly newspaper published in Tallinn. He holds a BSc from the London School of Economics, and studied Polish at the Jagiellonian University, Cracow. He is married to Cristina Odone with three children. “The New Cold War” (2008) was his first book. “Deception”, about east-west espionage, was published in 2011. “The Snowden Operation” was published as an e-book in 2014. His latest book is “Cyberphobia”.
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