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The Influence of Facebook

Rory Cellan-Jones, for the BBC:

In the United States, newspapers take their responsibilities to the democratic process very seriously.

So seriously, in fact, that they can come across as rather pompous to a British reader. When it comes to a presidential election they seem to believe that their endorsements are of huge significance and that their words will be weighed with utmost seriousness by their readers.

Now both the newspapers and the rest of the mainstream media are waking up to the fact that their influence may be as nothing compared with that of Facebook.

The News Feed algorithm serves you up whatever it thinks you and your friends want to believe and it certainly does not do any fact-checking.

Stories that accused the Clintons of murder or maintained that Barack Obama was a Muslim will have cropped up in the feeds of millions of people inclined to support Mr Trump.

Firing human editors really worked out well.