Sacha Baron Cohen just slammed Facebook for being a home for conspiracy theories that could ‘kill democracy as we know it’



Sacha Baron Cohen wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: Sacha Baron Cohen attends the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic


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Sacha Baron Cohen attends the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

  • Actor Sacha Baron Cohen wrote an op-ed for Time condemning social media platforms for allowing misinformation to spread, and he singled out Facebook in particular.
  • The “Borat” actor, who has come out hard against Facebook before, said the company is a “dutiful ally” to President Donald Trump and attacked the firm for its failure to fact-check misleading political ads and posts.
  • Cohen wrote how the “trifecta” of President Trump, Facebook, and the spread of misinformation has created “a whirlwind of conspiratorial madness” leading up to the 2020 election that could “kill democracy as we know it.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Actor Sacha Baron Cohen in an op-ed for Time Magazine called for an end to the proliferation of conspiracy theories on social media platforms — and the actor zeroed in on Facebook specifically.

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The actor slammed the company for the role it has played in misinformation spreading online, calling out Facebook’s algorithm that is designed to promote content that more people find interesting. Cohen also called Facebook out for its refusal to fact-check political ads and remove misleading posts.

The actor pointed out that conspiracy theories are more easily spread during times of uncertainty.

“Donald Trump — who averages 23 lies a day and is the world’s greatest superspreader of coronavirus conspiracies —has caught the virus himself. He has a dutiful ally in Facebook — the greatest propaganda machine in history. And this is a time when Americans are especially vulnerable to lies and conspiracies. This trifecta has created a whirlwind of conspiratorial madness,” Cohen wrote in the op-ed.

Cohen’s damning remarks come as the 2020 presidential election looms just

Trump’s targeting of Black voters on Facebook in 2016 shows microtargeting is a threat to democracy, experts warn

  • Channel 4 on Monday revealed a leaked cache of data from the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.
  • The data showed how the campaign microtargeted people on Facebook, and labelled a particular group of users as targets for “deterrence” from voting. This group was disproportionately made up of Black users.
  • Experts told Business Insider the report highlights the threat that microtargeting on a vast platform like Facebook’s poses towards democratic elections.
  • “Facebook talks a lot about bad actors misusing its platform, but the truth is that the biggest bad actor on Facebook is Facebook,” one said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The now-defunct Cambridge Analytica entered the news cycle once again on Monday, four years after its name became synonymous with the huge data scandal that changed the tech landscape forever.

UK broadcaster Channel 4 obtained a leaked data cache from the Trump 2016 presidential campaign which contained the data of 200 million Americans’ Facebook accounts.

The data demonstrated the Trump campaign’s strategy for categorizing different types of users to target them with content and ads on Facebook, a process known as microtargeting. Microtargeting is broadly not regulated in the US.

In one instance, Trump’s campaign labeled a group of users “deterrence”, who the campaign tried to dissuade from voting.

This group was overwhelmingly comprised of Black people. While Black users made up only 13% of the total dataset, they comprised nearly a third of users in the “deterrence” group — 3.5 million in total.

Included in the data obtained by Channel 4 was an ad made by Cambridge Analytica targeted at Black Americans and which attacked Hillary Clinton for remarks she made in 1996 about “superpredators.” 

The Trump campaign has dismissed the Channel 4 report as “fake news.”

While the efficacy of Cambridge Analytica’s tactics back in 2016 remain