Sacha Baron Cohen slams Facebook as a home for conspiracy theories

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  • 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.

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 weeks away and as social media sites continue to grapple with policing disinformation on their platforms. Facebook has been in the spotlight specifically for giving QAnon networks

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

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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

Expert discusses the importance of getting wise to misinformation, conspiracy theories

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conspiracy
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has opened gateways—allowing for people to continue learning and remain connected. But it’s also allowed for the steady flow of disinformation, misinformation and conspiracy theories.


From Facebook to Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—social media is always at our fingertips. Slanted views can spread like wildfire on those platforms, despite efforts to stop it.

Jenny Rice, an associate professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, is an expert on conspiracy theories. In her book, “Awful Archives: Conspiracy Theory, Rhetoric, and Acts of Evidence,” she looks to examples that lie at the fringes of public discourse—pseudoscience, the paranormal, conspiracy theories about 9/11, the moon landing, UFO sightings and Obama’s birth record. Such examples, she argues, bring to light other questions about evidence that force us to reassess and move beyond traditional forms of debate and ethics.

During a public health crisis and a pivotal presidential election, how can we separate fact from fiction? In the Q&A session below, Rice explains the importance of recognizing and questioning misinformation.

UKNOW: First, tell us a little bit about yourself. Why are you passionate about studying topics such as misinformation and conspiracy theories?

Rice: As someone who studies contemporary public rhetoric, I’m very interested in learning how arguments become “sticky.” What makes certain claims persuasive, even when those claims have questionable evidence or even no evidence at all? While we like to think we are rational beings who base our beliefs on sound logic, that is not the case at all. So, I find myself asking questions about how it is, exactly, that we come to believe, doubt and debate about important issues in public.

UKNow: Before we jump into the conversation, can you define

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