Will Sacha Baron Cohen's War on Facebook Convince Zuckerberg to Ban Political Ads?

Published December 3rd, 2019 - 08:10 GMT
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood by his decision to allow political ads that may contain false and erroneous information to be published on the social network, insisting that “in a democracy, it's important for the public to make their own judgments.” 

After attacking Facebook's policy in a speech a week prior, actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has once again criticized Zuckerberg's decision. 

In his speech at the Anti-Defamation League, Baron Cohen attacked Facebook and other social media platforms for enabling the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation, calling tech companies propaganda machines.

Describing Facebook as “the greatest propaganda machine in history,” Baron Cohen argued that “the company, which does not vet political ads for truthfulness, would have allowed Hitler to run propaganda on its platform.”

On the other hand, Zuckerberg has repeatedly defended his decision to allow the ads, even as Twitter announced that it would ban political ads on its platform, citing concerns about the impact of misinformation.

“I don’t think that a private company should be censoring politicians or news. I think people should be able to judge for themselves the character of politicians,” Zuckerberg argued.

In response to the incident, hundreds of Zuckerberg’s own employees signed a petition that argues free speech and political speech don’t deserve the same protections. 

Activists were also concerned that if social media platforms don’t ban or fact-check political ads, politicians could intentionally spread falsehoods that affect elections.

Some have also suggested that the dangers of spreading of misinformation on social media has greater implications than ads on television networks.  


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