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Now, facing the prospect that hoaxes or misinformation could worsen a global pandemic, tech platforms are taking control of the information ecosystem like never before.

Beyond those narrow exceptions, tech companies resisted calls to influence what their users saw.

While tech companies hadn’t been making specific editorial decisions, the systems that determined what people saw — often based on complex algorithms that tried to maximize engagement — became the focus of intense criticism.

Tech companies reacted.

“So these tech platforms can claim neutrality all they want, but they have never been neutral from the very outset,” she added.

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