Sacha Baron Cohen calls internet giants 'greatest propaganda machine in history'

Los Angeles, Nov 22 (PTI) Labelling them as the 'greatest propaganda machine in history', actor-comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has blasted social media giants such as Facebook, Google, among others, over the increasing trend of hate messaging.

In his blistering speech at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Thursday, Cohen ripped into the internet companies, accusing them of facilitating the spread of hateful propaganda on their platforms.

'I'm just a comedian and an actor, not a scholar. But one thing is pretty clear to me. All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history. The greatest propaganda machine in history,' the actor said.

'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,' he added.

Cohen took aim at 'the Silicon Six', the group of top tech giant's heads, which includes Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

'The Silicon Six -- all billionaires, all Americans -- who care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy.

'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,' the actor added.

Cohen particularly targeted Zuckerberg for his recent address to students at Georgetown University, where he promoted the cause of free speech.

The actor said Facebook has a responsibility to stop any message that can harm the society and people.

'If a neo-Nazi comes goose-stepping into a restaurant and starts threatening other customers and saying he wants (to) kill Jews, would the owner of the restaurant be required to serve him an elegant eight-course meal? 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,' Cohen added. PTI RB RDSRDS