Deadline, TVWeek, ADL

Sacha Baron Cohen Goes After Social Media

Nov 21, 2019  •  Post A Comment

Sacha Baron Cohen, the comedian behind the controversial 2018 Showtime series “Who Is America?” along with feature films including “Borat” and “The Dictator,” set his sights on social media giants including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Deadline reports that Cohen called out the tech companies for their roles in amplifying hatred and violence in society. He made his comments Thursday in New York in his speech accepting the Anti-Defamation League’s International Leadership Award.

You can see the speech in the video clip below.

“All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of Internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history,” Cohen is quoted saying. “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.”

Deadline adds: “He specifically refuted recent comments from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, whom he said ‘not surprisingly, warned against new laws and regulations on companies like his. Well, some of these arguments are simply absurd,'”

Said Cohen: “It’s time to finally call these companies what they really are — the largest publishers in history. And here’s an idea for them: Abide by basic standards and practices just like newspapers, magazines and TV news do every day.”

Here’s the video of Cohen’s speech …


  1. Or what, Mr. Cohen? Government “oversight”?

    We’re had this discussion before. Freedom of speech isn’t just for those who say things we agree with. We’ve seen what happens when those in authority (regardless of which way their politics lean) attempt to control conversation… it’s always just another attempt to control us.

    And that’s what politics is always about… control… over us.

  2. Leodavinci – you missed his point and in so doing become part of the problem. Please offer up a solution to this unchecked power of which Cohen speaks.

    • No, I did not miss his point. Like it or not, the issue is about free speech. Pretending it’s an issue of “unchecked power” is just a way of avoiding the real issue. Using real unchecked power… that of the state… to deal with a perception of unchecked power will not solve a real problem. What I find surprising (not really) is that so many on the left seem to be calling for state involvement in a “solution”. It is disconcerting that “liberals” would call for this. I’m not saying there aren’t issues with social media, there are, but no one is forced to use Facebook or any other social media. I don’t.

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