Sacha Baron Cohen has attacked social media and internet giants including Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube, saying they together form “the greatest propaganda machine in history”. Watch the video below.
The ‘Who Is America’ actor and comedian criticised the companies during his acceptance speech for his ADL International Leadership Award in New York yesterday (November 21).
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“All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history,” he said.
“Think about it. Facebook, YouTube and Google, Twitter and others – they reach billions of people. The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged – stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear.”
The celebrated screenwriter and director, who is also known for his satirical on-screen characters including Ali G and Borat Sagdiyev, then targeted Facebook directly by calling out their advertising standards.
“If you pay them, Facebook will run any ‘political’ ad you want, even if it’s a lie,” he said. “And they’ll even help you micro-target those lies to their users for maximum effect. Under this twisted logic, if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’.
“So here’s a good standard and practice: Facebook, start fact-checking political ads before you run them, stop micro-targeted lies immediately, and when the ads are false, give back the money and don’t publish them.”
In related news, The Social Network writer Aaron Sorkin has written an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in which he claims the CEO has allowed “crazy lies” to spread on his platform. It comes after Zuckerberg refused to ban political advertising on the social media site.
Earlier this week Neil Young revealed that he is no longer using Facebook. Posting in his Archives website, the veteran rocker slammed the social media site and said his site is “no longer interested in further links with Facebook” and will “be discontinuing use”.
He wrote: “In the posting entitled “Facebook is toast at NYA”, Young wrote: “Facebook is facing criticism for sponsoring the annual gala of the Federalist Society, the powerful right wing organisation behind the nomination of the conservative supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh.”