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22 Nov, 2019 08:52

‘Hitler could’ve posted ads on Facebook’: Sacha Baron Cohen calls for Big Tech regulation in scathing speech

‘Hitler could’ve posted ads on Facebook’: Sacha Baron Cohen calls for Big Tech regulation in scathing speech

In a blistering speech before the Anti-Defamation League, British comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen torched tech industry titans for creating the “greatest propaganda machine in history.”

During a scathing takedown, Baron Cohen repeatedly pummeled the founders and leaders of Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and Twitter, whom he dubbed “The Silicon Six.”

“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.”

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He unreservedly blamed Big Tech for the proliferation of hate speech online, through “algorithms [that] depend on deliberately amplifying the type of content that keeps users engaged – stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear.” 

Baron Cohen said that such practices are the reason fake news outperforms real news, why lies spread faster than the truth, and why Holocaust denial is rampant on each of the platforms. 

And it’s no surprise that the greatest propaganda machine in history has spread the oldest conspiracy theory in history – the lie that Jews are somehow dangerous.

On this point, he singled out Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for particular criticism following the latter’s recent remarks promoting freedom of speech to students at Georgetown University while also asserting that his company would not fact-check political ads in the upcoming 2020 US presidential election. 

“If a neo-Nazi comes goose-stepping into a restaurant and starts threatening other customers and saying he wants [to] kill Jews, would the owner of the restaurant be required to serve him an elegant eight-course meal? Of course not! The restaurant owner has every legal right and a moral obligation to kick the Nazi out, and so do these internet companies,” the comedian railed.

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He called for Facebook to be regulated like a publisher and suggested an automated lag time between when something is uploaded and when it is published online, to prevent the proliferation of violent videos and other objectionable material. 

“If Facebook were around in the 1930s, Hitler would have been allowed to post ads against the Jews,” Baron Cohen claimed.

Big Tech is already struggling to get to grips with advertising ahead of the 2020 US presidential election with Twitter banning all political advertising on the one hand and Facebook allowing some not-entirely-truthful political messaging on the other. 

“There is such a thing as objective truth. Facts do exist. And if these internet companies really want to make a difference, they should hire enough monitors to actually monitor, work closely with groups like the ADL, insist on facts and purge these lies and conspiracies from their platforms.”

He also blasted Facebook for allowing the Christchurch shooter to stream his attack, calling it “a snuff film, brought to you by social media.”

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