Sacha Baron Cohen has launched a fresh attack on Mark Zuckerberg telling him ‘history will judge you’ and that he is helping to ‘destroy democracy’ after a new report showed the Trump campaign had more than double the number of Facebook ads than any other presidential candidate.
British comedian Baron Cohen slammed the Facebook CEO on Twitter Wednesday, tweeting a Guardian report on President Donald Trump’s advertising campaign on Facebook.
‘Terrifying. 218,000 political ads on Facebook—many with lies and hate – seen by voters perhaps 1.3 BILLION times.
‘And Facebook profits. #MarkZuckerberg, history will judge you harshly – if we still have historians after you help destroy democracy!’ Cohen tweeted.
Sacha Baron Cohen (pictured) has launched a fresh attack on Mark Zuckerberg telling him ‘history will judge you’ and that he is helping to ‘destroy democracy’ after a new report showed the Trump campaign had more than double the number of Facebook ads than other presidential candidates
British comedian Baron Cohen slammed the Facebook CEO on Twitter (above) Wednesday, tweeting a Guardian report on President Donald Trump’s advertising campaign on Facebook
The report, published Wednesday and titled ‘One year inside Trump’s monumental Facebook campaign’, investigated the use of Facebook ads in the race for the White House over the course of 2019.
It described how Trump’s re-election campaign ‘built a sophisticated social media machine to communicate with conservative voters, grow its email list and fine-tune its messaging’.
The Trump campaign spent nearly $20 million on more than 218,000 different Facebook ads, more than double every other candidate except for Democrat Tom Steyer who spent $16.8m on just 12,704 ads.
The volume of ads posted in support of Trump dwarfed that of the second-highest candidate, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg who posted 74,286 ads.
The report went on to explain that ‘among the ads were some of the images and videos that made front-page news for their xenophobic, fear-mongering, vitriolic and outright false rhetoric.’
Analysis of the content of Trump’s ads found that the media and its ‘fake news’ was the issue mentioned most, featuring in almost one in five (18.25%) of the president’s ads.
Immigration and Trump’s plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico was next second, followed by impeachment, the economy and gun rights.
By Wednesday evening, Baron Cohen’s post had been retweeted 1,200 times, with Twitter users widely coming out in support of his comments.
‘Your speech was spot on, BTW. Facebook is the most dangerous weapon man has ever invented. It weaponizes people,’ one person tweeted.
Another said: ‘We’ve learned nothing from the Cambridge Analytica fiasco.’
Baron Cohen blasted Mark Zuckerberg (above) after Guardian analysis showed the Trump campaign had 218,000 political ads on Facebook in 2019
The Guardian analysis (above) showed that the Trump campaign ad spend and volume of ads dwarfed that of other presidential candidates. The report went on to explain that ‘among the ads were some of the images and videos that made front-page news for their xenophobic, fear-mongering, vitriolic and outright false rhetoric’
However some defended Zuckerberg and critiqued Baron Cohen’s post.
‘If your going to hate on Facebook do the same on twitter. I only see political ads on twitter and none on facebook,’ one user said.
It’s not the first time Baron Cohen has publicly slammed Zuckerberg.
Back in November Baron Cohen gave a 28-minute speech at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now summit, in which he described Facebook as ‘the greatest propaganda machine’ for hate groups in history.
Then at the Golden Globe Awards on January 5, the comedian called the tech entrepreneur a ‘naive, misguided child who spreads Nazi propaganda’.
At the November summit, Baron Cohen singled out Zuckerberg and five other tech executives – that he dubbed the ‘Silicone Six’ – for facilitating and profiting off the spread of hate speech and misinformation across the world.
‘All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history,’ Cohen said during his keynote speech, adding that the sowing of such information has led to ‘surging’ hate crimes and a rise in ‘murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities.’
‘The Silicon Six—all billionaires, all Americans—who care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy,’ Cohen said.
‘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.’
Baron Cohen’s latest attack comes just weeks after the comedian called the tech entrepreneur a ‘naive, misguided child who spreads Nazi propaganda’ at the Golden Globe Awards on January 5 (above)
The comedian (left) has slammed Zuckerberg (right) several times, accusing the Facebook CEO of profiting off hate speech spread on the platform
During the speech for the ADL, Cohen singled out Zuckerberg and five other tech executives – dubbed the ‘Silicone Six’ – for facilitating and profiting off the spread of hate speech and misinformation across the world
Baron Cohen saved most of his criticisms specifically for Zuckerberg and his controversial decision that Facebook does not fact-check political ads.
‘If you pay them, Facebook will run any political ad you want, even if it’s a lie,’ he said.
He went on to suggest that this policy meant that if Facebook was around in the 1930s, Adolf Hitler would have been able to post political ads against Jewish people uninhibited.
‘It’s like we’re living in the Roman Empire, and Mark Zuckerberg is Caesar,’ the Ali G funnyman continued.
‘At least that would explain his haircut.’
Cohen then took Zuckerberg and Google to task for refusing to ban Holocaust deniers from the social network.
‘[Zuckerberg] said that he found posts denying the Holocaust ‘deeply offensive,’ but he didn’t think Facebook should take them down ‘because I think there are things that different people get wrong’,’ Cohen said.
‘At this very moment, there are still Holocaust deniers on Facebook, and Google still takes you to the most repulsive Holocaust denial sites with a simple click.
‘One of the heads of Google once told me, incredibly, that these sites just show ‘both sides’ of the issue.
‘This is madness.’
Cohen also rejected Zuckerberg’s claim that he could not act as a censor to limit what people can say.
‘Freedom of speech is not freedom of reach,’ Cohen said.
‘Sadly, there will always be racists, misogynists, anti-Semites and child abusers. But 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.’
Cohen said that social media sites and internet search engines have the legal right to ban hate speech.
‘If a neo-Nazi comes goose-stepping into a restaurant and starts threatening other customers and saying he wants kill Jews, would the owner of the restaurant be required to serve him an elegant eight-course meal?’ he asked rhetorically.
‘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.’
Facebook responded to Baron Cohen’s scathing remarks by saying he was misrepresenting its policies around hate speech.
Baron Cohen then used the stage at the Golden Globes to continue the feud earlier this month.
The Borat star had been tasked with introducing the film Jojo Rabbit – a satirical movie about a German boy enrolled in the Nazi youth whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler.
He said: ‘The hero of this next movie is a naive, misguided child who spreads Nazi propaganda and only has imaginary friends. His name is Mark Zuckerberg.’
As gasps and awkward laughter broke out among the audience, the comedian continued: ‘Sorry, sorry. This is an old intro for the Social Network. I’m actually talking about JoJoRabbit. It’s nominated for two Golden Globes and it’s directed by its star, the brilliant and groundbreaking Taika Waititi.’
His satirical takedown of Zuckerberg at the Golden Globes was widely praised online.
‘Thank you @SachaBaronCohen for continuing to call out Mark Zuckerberg for his active role in destroying our democracy,’ tweeted Ryan Knight.
‘All hail Sacha Baron Cohen for saying what we are all thinking about spineless Mark Zuckerberg,’ echoed another user.
Other prominent figures have also waded into the debate.
Hillary Clinton (pictured) blasted Zuckerberg in an interview with The Atlantic in January about the misinformation campaigns that spewed on Facebook against her and in favor of getting Trump into power. The Former Secretary of State branded the Facebook boss ‘authoritarian’ and ‘Trumpian’
Hillary Clinton blasted Zuckerberg in an interview with The Atlantic in January about the misinformation campaigns that spewed on Facebook against her and in favor of getting Trump into power.
The Former Secretary of State branded the Facebook boss ‘authoritarian’ and ‘Trumpian’.
‘I didn’t really know this was happening to me. We did not understand what was going on below the radar screen,’ she said.
Clinton said she was alarmed by Zuckerberg’s unwillingness to have Facebook buckle down on propaganda after such campaigns were exposed.
Clinton noted last spring a slowed-down video of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi went viral online, distorting the speed so that she appeared to slur her words and appeared cognitively impaired.
‘Google took it off YouTube…so I contacted Facebook. I said, Why are you guys keeping this up? This is blatantly false. Your competitors have taken it down, And their response was, ‘We think our users can make up their own minds,’ Clinton said.
Zuckerberg said last year Facebook wants to moderate content as little as possible and doesn’t want to censor free speech, even if it means airing paid content from politicians that isn’t accurate.