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Why it matters: Fake news has affected the whole country, but the social networks and platforms to help distribute them are based in Silicon Valley, leaving the tech industry and the journalists that cover it to wrestle with the consequences and possible solutions.

Here's what a group of journalists — BuzzFeed reporter Alex Kantrowitz, CNBC editorial director Matt Rosoff, NYT reporter Katie Benner, USA Today SF bureau chief Jon Swartz and The Information's Tom Dotan — had to say about fake news at an event in San Francisco on Thursday.

Defining "fake news": All agreed that the intent to mislead or provide false information is central to the term, but there's also a spectrum from Macedonian "fake news" farms to outlets creating misleading narratives on the basis of some facts or opinions.

Facebook's real role: Facebook didn't sway the election thanks to fake news, said Kantrowitz. Instead, that content reinforced people's existing beliefs. Rosoff challenged the notion that Facebook is an alternative to the old ways of getting the news, like watching news programs on TV or buying a newspaper. Instead, it's an alternative for bar talk and gossiping for friends, which is why sensational articles are so commonly shared there. "It was never meant for real journalism," he added.

How tech empowers the grassroots: Certain voices the mainstream media and establishment politicians would have otherwise dismissed are getting power through technology like smartphones and social media, said Benner.

Why Twitter won't ban Trump: "I think the reason they keep him on is to keep the communication open," said Swartz, adding that at least it provides the public some window into his mind.

Video and fake news: With Facebook's increasing focus on—and even shift to—video, that may have an impact on the proliferation of fake news on its network, predicted Dotan. Videos require more resources to produce than blog posts, making it more difficult for bad actors currently churning out content from their computers to do the same in that medium.

Ultimate accountability: "I think it's in the hands of Mark Zuckerberg," said Kantrowitz.

Go deeper

By the numbers: Leaving House

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) is the latest House lawmaker to announce he won't seek re-election next year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 13, compared to nine Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.

Oklahoma Supreme Court temporarily blocks abortion restrictions

A pro-choice activist demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked three abortion restrictions set to take effect on Nov. 1.

Why it matters: The laws would place new limits on medication-induced abortions and require doctors who perform abortions to attain board certification in obstetrics and gynecology.

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