This study quantitatively examines and compares public opinion on regulating fake news, and factors affecting the opinion in three Asian countries: Japan, South Korea, and Thailand. Based on the third-person effect, it is hypothesised that the perceived harm of fake news on society increases people's support for fake news regulation. In parallel, according to the lesser evil principle, it is also anticipated that people will be less supportive of regulating fake news if they are aware that there are other non-regulatory counter fake news solutions such as fact-checking. Using original survey data collected from the three countries (n = 5218) and multi-group SEM, it is found that while the first hypothesis holds for all three countries, the second one holds only for Japan and South Korea (the two mature democracies), but not for Thailand (the semi-democratic country). This finding implies that the lesser evil principle also applies in Asian countries, but only in mature democracies where freedom of speech is protected.
ASJC Scopus subject areas