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Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page Are America’s New Press Barons

SAN ANSELMO, CA – MAY 09: The Facebook website is displayed on a laptop computer on May 9, 2011 in San Anselmo, California. An investigation by The Pew Research Center found that Facebook has become a player in the news industry as the popular social media site is driving an increasing amount of traffic to news web sites. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

More news yesterday reminds us that Google CEO Larry Page and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are today’s press barons, though they don’t want to be. Business leaders need to erase and replace their long-established understanding of how the media work.

The latest sign is Facebook’s announcement yesterday that it is retooling its Trending section, which lists topics that are being widely discussed on the site and that Facebook algorithms figure would be of interest to each user. New algorithms will try to weed out topics that are based on just one news report—the better to eliminate “fake news.” The new algorithms will look instead for topics being covered by several media outlets, trying not to be misled if several outlets cover a fake-news outbreak because it’s fake news. The personalization feature will also be discontinued; every user in a given country will get the same list of Trending topics.

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