Thursday, October 29, 2009

Facebook Solution

On a recent visit to my favorite secondhand bookstore here, I bought a small book with nice cover titled On Rumors, by Cass Sunstein. I like this short book while discussing its first two subtitles -- how falsehood spread and why we believe them-- (answer: informational and confirmatory cascade and group polarization) ; but not so much on the third -- what can be done.

It's a small wonder nonetheless, knowing that Sunstein, along with Thaler, is the leading figure in paternalistic libertarianism. He goes that to prevent falsehood to spread, we need to create a "chilling effect" against rumors through law.

But actually I like what he describes as (overly) optimistic market-for-ideas solution when he write:
"Perhaps the Facebook generation and its successors will treat a wide range of rumors, including negative and vicious ones, with bemusement or a yawn."
This is spot-on.

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