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The tech giant, which owns roughly 80% percent of the U.S. search market and over 40% of the U.S. digital ad market, says it's made updates to its algorithms to surface more "authoritative content."

Why it matters: This is one of the biggest steps Google has taken to combat fake news since the election. Google and Facebook, the two largest platforms and media distributors, have been under intense pressure for years, but more so since the election, to reassure advertisers that their content won't appear next to fake news sites or ads.

Changes:

  • Ranking changes: Google says its adjusting the hundreds of signals used to elevate searches in its queries to help surface more authoritative pages and bury "low-quality" content, like content that denies the Holocaust's existence.
  • New Search Quality Rater guidelines: Google uses real people to assess data about Google's search results. They are updating the guidelines those raters use to address feedback.

Our thought bubble: Fake news is prevalent on platforms, where scammers can game the system to maximize clicks and exposure to either make money or sway public opinion. Google tends to have more fake news perpetrators using the platform for monetization, whereas Facebook, whose algorithm is based off of emotional response among other factors, tends to have more of a fake news to persuade public opinion problem than Google.

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of senators unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.

Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Patch, the hyperlocal (and profitable) local digital news company, has built a new software platform called "Patch Labs" that lets local news reporters publish their own newsletters and websites, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: It follows a growing trend of journalists going solo via newsletters at the national level.

Scoop: Politico stars plot new Playbook

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Three of Politico’s biggest reporting stars plan to launch a competitor to the company’s Politico Playbook franchise, sources tell me. 

Why it matters:  Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan will launch a daily newsletter in 2021 as a stand-alone company, the sources say. In effect, they will be competing against the Playbook franchise they helped create and grow. 

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