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The term "fake news" has become an epithet that U.S. President Donald Trump attaches to any unfavorable story.To give Russia credit, it was one of the first governments to understand how to weaponize social media and to use America's own companies against it.The "free" services offered by social media are based on a profit model in which users' information and attention are actually the products, which are sold to advertisers.By its nature, the social media profit model can be weaponized by states and nonstate actors alike.Such efforts include automated programs to find and remove fake accounts; featuring Facebook pages that spread disinformation less prominently than in the past; issuing a transparency report on the number of false accounts removed; verifying the nationality of those who place political advertisements; hiring 10,000 additional people to work on security; and improving coordination with law enforcement and other companies to address suspicious activity.Because it is often more sensational and outrageous, fake news travels farther and faster than real news.While machines and non-U.S. actors have no First Amendment rights (and private companies are not bound by the First Amendment in any case), abhorrent domestic groups and individuals do, and they can serve as intermediaries for foreign influencers.
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