Sacha Baron Cohen Unleashes on Zuckerberg and Facebook
On November 22, 2019, Sacha Baron Cohen used his platform to call Facebook "the greatest propaganda machine in history" at the Anti Defamation League's International Leadership summit.
On Thursday, November 22, 2019, Sacha Baron Cohen approached the stage of the Anti Defamation League's (ADL) International Leadership summit with one objective in mind: Exposing social media for what it is today and throwing as many giants under the bus as possible.
He particularly went after Facebook and its chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg. He called the social media platform "the greatest propaganda machine in history", and even pointed out that if Facebook was around during the 1930's, it would have allowed Hitler to run political ads and anti-Jew rhetoric on the platform.
The actor particularly cited Facebook's recently unveiled news section, which wildly includes Breitbart News, a far-right website, as one of the site's sources.
He argued that social platforms like Facebook have given mainstream attention to unfounded conspiracy theories that used to be confined in the fringes of society. Now, conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones can use social media to spew whatever nonsense they can make up on the spot to stir up their constituents and cause controversies that serve no purpose but to inspire hate.
WATCH SACHA BARON COHEN'S SPEECH
Sacha Baron Cohen's speech is a breath of fresh air, because it is a reminder that the wealthiest individuals of the world do not have the public's best interest at heart. People like Zuckerberg have made tons of money by keeping people attached to their sites, and they will do whatever they have to in order to maintain heavy traffic and rake in millions from ad revenue and selling personal information to third parties.
"The Silicon Six—all billionaires, all Americans—who care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy," Cohen said. "This is ideological imperialism. Six unelected individuals in Silicon Valley imposing their vision on the rest of the world, unaccountable to any government, and acting like they're above the reach of law."
In any other industry around the world, he pointed out, companies are expected to take responsibility for any and all defective products, and they are simply held accountable to fix the situation. "[If] your product is defective, you are obliged to fix it, no matter how much it costs and no matter how many moderators you need to employ," he said.
He concluded his speech with a suggestion to prioritize truth, empathy, and tolerance over lies, prejudice, and indifference.
"Then maybe, just maybe, we can stop the greatest propaganda machine in history, we can save democracy, we can still have a place for free speech and free expression, and, most importantly, my jokes will still work."