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Misinformation and Disinformation: the Issue, the Marketplace of Ideas, and the British and American Approaches

SEWELL, KIERAN,JON (2023) Misinformation and Disinformation: the Issue, the Marketplace of Ideas, and the British and American Approaches. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 06 September 2025.


This thesis concerns the shortcomings of free speech theory in addressing misinformation and disinformation. The thesis principally aims to demonstrate the inapplicability of justifications for freedom of expression grounded in the search for the truth to the problem of misinformation and disinformation. It does so by examining whether individuals are able to perform ‘truth-seeking’ in relation to misinformation and disinformation given certain psychological biases and technological developments of which misinformation and disinformation take advantage. The marketplace of ideas is one justification for freedom of expression based upon the discovery of the truth, which considers ‘the best test of truth [to be] the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.’ This thesis argues that preventing misinformation and disinformation from entering this market should generally be the preferred solution to the issue, though others may be appropriate where certain speech interests apply. This is demonstrated through analysis of legislation and proposals that address misinformation and disinformation directly, as well as the technologies used to disseminate such speech.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Jurisprudence
Keywords:misinformation; disinformation; marketplace of ideas; anti-information; Online Safety Bill; Honest Ads Bill; SB-1001; bot speech; microtargeted ads
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:06 Sep 2023 13:35

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