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About a week before the United States presidential election last November, someone posted on Twitter that Hillary Clinton was at the center of a pedophilia ring.The video, posted four days before the election, was watched more than 400,000 times.Fake news – "active misinformation" that is packaged to look as if it comes from a serious news site – is a threat to democratic institutions.President Barack Obama acknowledged the danger to democratic freedoms when speaking to the press in Germany shortly after the U.S. election. Whether or not fake news cost Clinton the presidency, it plainly could cause a candidate to lose an election and upset international relations. In the U.S., criminal libel is not a federal offense.A report in 2015 by A. Jay Wagner and Anthony L. Fargo for the International Press Institute describes many of the recent cases as "petty" and regards the civil libel law as a better recourse for "personal grievances". The report concludes that criminal libel has become "redundant and unnecessary". To accuse, during an election campaign, a U.S. presidential candidate of personally murdering children is not petty, and civil libel law provides no adequate remedy.
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