Although the term “fake news” was only coined at the end of presidential campaign, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne may be the first person punished for it.
In one of Canada’s biggest defamation cases ever, Byrne and his website DeepCapture.com, already have been hit with a $1.2 million judgement. This week, the judge awarded special legal costs to the plaintiff because DeepCature and Byrne’s conduct was “reprehensible.” (The action against Overstock.com itself was dismissed.)
It doesn’t change much that the term fake news wasn’t even a thing in 2011 when Byrne claimed falsely that Vancouver businessman Altaf Nazerali is arms dealer, drug trafficker, al-Qaida financial backer and a Mafia member.
“If there’s ever a case of fake news going on trial, this is it,” said Nazerali.
Always an innovator, Byrne was ahead of the “post-truth” era by four years.
In a recent Salt Lake magazine, we profiled what promised to be a kinder, gentler—and perhaps, truthier–Byrne, returned from a potentially deadly bout with Hep C.