Sacha Baron Cohen calls Facebook 'the greatest propaganda machine in history'

23 November 2019, 12:27 | Updated: 23 November 2019, 12:34

Sacha Baron Cohen made the comments during a speech in New York
Sacha Baron Cohen made the comments during a speech in New York. Picture: PA

Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen criticised the social media company during a speech in New York.

The "Borat" star also said that if Facebook has existed in the 1930s, it would have let "Hitler buy anti-Semitic ads" and been a platform for his racist beliefs.

Speaking in New York, the comedian criticised the social media giant, and also said Twitter and Youtube push "absurdities onto billions of people".

Addressing the Anti-Defamation League's Never is Now summit, Baron Cohen said: "If you pay them, Facebook will run any 'political' ad you want, even if it's a lie. And they'll even help you micro-target those lies to their users for maximum effect.

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 criticised Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg's decision not to ban political ads, even those containing falsehoods, saying it was time "for a fundamental rethink of social media and how it spreads hate, conspiracies and lies".

He also questioned the company's claims that they are a bastion of "free expression".

"I think we could all agree that we should not be giving bigots and paedophiles a free platform to amplify their views and target their victims," he added.

His comments come after international lawmakers began pressuring social media firms to ban targeted adverts on social media until they are properly regulated.

In October, Twitter announced that they would be banning all political advertising from 22 November.

Google have also announced that they will no longer allow political advertisers to use browsing data to "microtarget" consumers.

Despite this, Facebook has refused to follow suit said that it does not think it should be the one to make decisions about its users speech.

The company said in a statement: "We ban people who advocate for violence and we remove anyone who praises or supports it.

"Nobody, including politicians, can advocate or advertise hate, violence or mass murder on Facebook."