Wow. Excellent and thought provoking. From someone outside of the USA, I see the preoccupation with “free speech” as a form of entitlement that goes far beyond that which is guaranteed constitionally, and a lot of confusion, and even disinterest in what the constitution guarantees and does not guarantee.
I do not think there is a strong link between the problem of fake news and free speech, which you seem to be trying to make. I think they are orthogonal.
The removal of barriers to expressing oneself as a result of social media has resulted in a populism that makes something “right” if it is repeated enough. Couple that with the lack of ethical self-control that was inherent in journalism as a profession, and you have some of the makings of the situation that now exists.
Finally, back to entitlement, there is no guarantee that someone can choose a platform owned by others and be guaranteed the right to use it to express oneself. If you come to my house to insult me, you will lose your access, which is not got anything to do with constitutional free speech. Yet people bridle and scream about their rights when Facebook, Twitter, and other private entities exert THEIR property rights.
Thanks for writing this…so much more could be said, and hope to tune it later. Nick Cassella