Sacha Baron Cohen gave a great speech on the online tech giants at ADL. I think it is worth bringing it up here.
SBC is right on the money here.
In every other industry, you can be sued for the harm you cause. Publishers can be sued for libel. People can be sued for defamation…
Social media companies are largely protected from liability for content that their users post, no matter how indecent it is, by section 230 of - get this - the Communications DECENCY Act. It’s absurd!
People talk about Congress regulating Facebook and Google as if they even have to put up a fight. Congress created these companies. That one little clause is the only thing keeping Google, Facebook, and Twitter from getting sued into oblivion. Congress holds all the leverage here.
The crazy thing is that after watching hearing after hearing with Zuck, Sundar Pichai, and other bigwigs, and not seeing this get brought up, it doesn’t seem like any member of Congress is aware of this fact. Either that, or they’re all on the take.
“Sacha Baron Cohen has denounced tech giants Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google as” the biggest propaganda machine in history “and guilty of an increase in” murderous attacks against religious and ethnic minorities. "
Baron Cohen spoke Thursday at Never Is Now, the Anti-Defamation League summit on anti-Semitism and hate in New York, where he received the organization’s international leadership award. He said that “hate crimes are emerging, as are murderous attacks against religious and ethnic minorities” and that “all this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of Internet companies that represent the biggest propaganda machine in the history”.
He added: “The algorithms on which these platforms depend deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users interested, stories that appeal to our lower instincts and that provoke outrage and fear. That’s why YouTube recommended videos of the conspirator Alex Jones billions of times. That’s why fake news surpasses real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than the truth … As one headline said, just think about what Goebbels could have done with Facebook. "(The Guardian December 22, 2019)
To what “A Facebook spokesman said in response”: about what was said "Sacha Baron Cohen misrepresented Facebook’s policies. Hate speech is prohibited on our platform. We ban people who advocate violence and eliminate anyone who praises or supports it. No one, including politicians, can defend or announce hate, violence or mass murder on Facebook. "
And in my opinion, Facebook is right since it cannot enter into disquisitions of falsehood and truth. Whenever something notorious is said, it should be accompanied by a required appointment from the source. It is a problem of cultural education, rather than a deficiency of Facebook.
Countries outside the US should take note that we don’t have much influence or leverage over the policies, rules, practices and design over social media like facebook at our societies’ risk.
I found this critique quite compelling. While I sympathize emotionally with SBC in this case, I think he’s misguided.
Note that TechDirt is very critical of the tech giants and of privacy invasions etc., this is not coming from a source that defends the abuses.
I agree with Sacha 110% and I don’t have a doctorate in antisemetism like he does and vast knowledge of the third reich and final solution like he does but am sure he makes these references as thought out as anyone can and the comparison is apt. Right on slam dunk from a man who used oxford education to make ali g and from there an entertainment empire and the means to affect real change.
Bravo Sacha, I am sure the elites Zuckerberg et al were peeing their pants. Wonderful eloquent and spot on as always. Haterade from tech crunch I don’t know whether to laugh or facepalm, I think I will facepalm.