This is a matter of law catching up with technology. When a person seeks to spread a malicious rumor, it used to reply on word of mouth (where lack of a respectable source hurt credibility anyway). Today, anyone can dress up a website to look like a news institutions and post malicious rumors that can reach hundreds of thousands or millions of viewers. There is no legal method to deal with this new phenomenon of using fake news on social media to inflict deliberate and significant harm on individuals or institutions. Criminal libel laws would fill this gap and are much needed to provide a remedy to this new evil.
Jack A. Goldstone
Jack A. Goldstone is Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University, Virginia, and the editor of the Political Demography: How Population Changes are Transforming International Security and National Politics and The Encyclopedia of Political Revolutions.