Liars: Falsehoods and Free Speech in an Age of Deception Review

After reading another book by Cass Sunstein, I noticed he had a new book that came out earlier this year (he puts out a lot of books), Liars: Falsehoods and Free Speech in an Age of Deception Review. The topic sounded interesting, and I generally found it an interesting read. Like the previous book, it is a fairly short book, clocking it at 133 pages in the copy I read.

The book is significantly focused on the legal element of falsehoods, not surprising considering that he is a law school professor, and I found getting a better understanding of how US law currently stands on the issue interesting.

One area I did find rather problematic is his apparent blind spot for falsehoods coming from news outlets. He put an emphasis in the book on news outlets doing more to combat falsehoods. For example, he writes this near the beginning of the book:

Even more clearly television networks, newspapers, magazines, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms should be doing more than they are now doing to control the spread of falsehoods.

What isn’t addressed is that currently news outlets themselves are the source of many of the falsehoods. Not only are they the source, but they don’t seem to think that is a problem. It is hard to address the proliferation of falsehoods when they are coming from an entity that should be dispelling them.

There is also the somewhat odd element where at the beginning of the book he notes that he has been a consultant for Facebook on the topic, but later in mentioning Facebook, he never mentions how his own involvement may have played into action that they took. The discussion of Facebook in the book doesn’t come across as being biased toward them, it just seems out of place that his involvement’s impact goes unmentioned.


A quick read that I found interesting and others interested in a legal focused discussion of falsehoods should find interesting.

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