Sacha Baron Cohen has a plan to "save democracy"—one that involves putting an end to "the greatest propaganda machine in history." Honored Thursday by the Anti-Defamation League for his efforts to expose hate through comedy, Baron Cohen blamed tech giants Google, Twitter, and Facebook for creating a world in which "demagogues appeal to our worst instincts" and conspiracy theories run rampant "as if the age of reason … is ending." He specifically called out Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who recently painted Facebook's tolerance for certain speech as a defense of free expression, reports CNBC. "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,'" Baron Cohen said, per the Daily Beast.
"The largest publishers in history" need to "abide by basic standards and practices just like newspapers," rather than relying on algorithms that "deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged—stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage and fear," he said, per Deadline, which shares the full transcript. After all, "I think we could all agree that we should not be giving bigots and pedophiles a free platform to amplify their views and target their victims." Indeed, "if we prioritize truth over lies, tolerance over prejudice, empathy over indifference and experts over ignoramuses” then "maybe, just maybe, we can stop the greatest propaganda machine in history, we can save democracy," he said. Twitter has since released a statement saying it prohibits "hateful conduct" and "violent extremist groups." No response yet from Facebook. (Read more Sacha Baron Cohen stories.)