Opinion: Why platforms should pay for polluting our civic discourse

Medium: Three days before the 2016 election, a shocking story from “Denver’s oldest news source” went viral.

“FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide,” blared the headline rocketing around Facebook from the Denver Guardian.

There was a problem: It was all fake. There’s no such newspaper as the Denver Guardian. The story was complete fiction — and an estimated 15 million people saw it in their feeds 72 hours before they headed to the polls.

The Denver Guardian hoax account might be one of the most-egregious examples of how social-media networks distort the news and sow mistrust, but it’s just the tip of a much larger iceberg threatening to sink local journalism.

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