Actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen recently took aim at Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg for his decision to allow political ads with false information on the social media platform. According to Cohen, Zuckerberg is “profiting off propaganda,” Newsweek reported.
Cohen made his comment on Twitter in response to a HuffPost article that highlights Zuckerberg’s reiteration of Facebook’s controversial ad policy during an interview with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King.
“No, Mark, it’s not that ‘complex.’ Let me simplify (again): you and Facebook take money from politicians and run their ads — even if they’re not true — without fact-checking them. That’s not democracy, that’s you profiting off propaganda.”
Zuckerberg told King he believes that Facebook should not be responsible for censorship in a democracy. Although King highlighted a letter that 200 employees signed in which they urged Zuckerberg to reconsider his decision and argued the difference between political speech and free speech, the 35-year-old entrepreneur remained steadfast in his belief and suggested that the issue is “very complex.”
Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, appeared with him during the interview and backed Zuckerberg’s stance.
“These are not problems that one person, one company, can fix on their own. There’s not gonna be some silver bullet, but we need to work together as a society for that steady progress,” she said.
'The greatest propaganda machine in history': Sacha Baron Cohen launches scathing attack on social media pic.twitter.com/eTIuSmljT1— The Independent (@Independent) November 25, 2019
Cohen previously gave a keynote address at the Anti-Defamation League’s 2019 Never is Now Summit on Anti-Semitism and Hate, blasting companies such as Facebook as the “greatest propaganda machine in history.” According to Cohen, such platforms are unique in their ability to amplify content that gets the most engagement, including those that trigger fear and outrage. The 48-year-old believes that this provides the foundation for conspiracy theories to spread and ultimately take hold of viewers.
During his address, Cohen suggested that if Facebook existed in the 1930s, Adolf Hitler would have been allowed to run “30-second ads” addressing his “‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem.'”
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Facebook — along with Google — is allegedly considering banning “micro-targeted” political ads, which are aimed at particular groups of users. Critics believe that such ads could be used by politicians to shift their message to suit particular user groups and cause damage to Democratic norms.
Hundreds of employees reportedly wrote a letter to Zuckerberg to raise concerns about micro-targeted ads, noting that the practice could prevent potential voters from scrutinizing political views — a process the letter argues should go hand-in-hand with political speech.