ANTI—SOCIAL MEDIA



MEDIA FOR MORONS

—  HISTORY LESSON - DATED JULY 2010  —
Cleaned-up and Modified for Todays Layout As A Prediction That Came TRue 


July 2010 — SAYONARA AMIGOS AT FARCE-BOOK, LINKEDIN, AND PLAXO  —  In my quest to expand relationships and at the pressure of many customers and friends to join their teams of “ Associates and acquaintances", I succumbed to those who suggested my entire world would change after I joined FACEBOOK.

It did, unfortunately I got more junk mail than a normal person can handle in one day. And doing a bit of research I found many like myself with years of detective work in IT, who get nervous about being that open to the public arena that much.  

It was a distraction, for nothing, it was not good for business, it opened doors to a lot of dead ends. I was not inclined to spend my days in the Mad Hatters Maze and make them rename it to "Alan in Wonderland" !

I suppose it's OK for my imaginary friends but most of my friends and business associates whom I communicate normally and privately with, that is the real ones, I care a great deal about and like talking with them.   Luckily I saw this pattern quickly, and imagine the good I could have done with that time.  When a little investigation explained the trash mail and offers I do not need, that was it.  

I am mad at myself, even in my article that I posted in my business plan section to be careful about what you ask for, I caved in.  After a month or so of community life I am earnestly looking for a small island I can purchase and hide on. The survivor thing looks good after some of the Cro-magons and Neanderthals made contact. Sort of the lost world crew.  

I value real friends and customers who pick up a phone, see how you are doing and wish you well. It's so nice to hear a friendly voice.  

So today with help from the legal pages posted under "How to escape from Facebook", I happily hit the SUBMIT button for permanent removal. See YAHHHHHHHH.  Oh I killed The Linkedin and Plaxo, the others they dumped me on too without asking and hopefully enough did not get through to the Gogglers and the other data miners. A goggler is a myopic Googler.

PART TWO - YOU ARE NOT ALONE  —  Well, to say I am not happy would be an understatement. Immediately 40% of worthless vanished. After I upped out, things started to surface.  I grabbed a shovel. It's amazing what you uncover when you dig. And I guess the most important thing to remember with these social sites is information you may of given years ago and forgot about suddenly pops up and revised and updated and there are those 78 people you have no clue to.

That was the case with the other two accounts I had thought I had un-suscribed to.  You have to do it manually.  The Farce Book updated two old accounts I had forgotten about and thought I had upped out of.  I was wrong. 

One account was saturated with individuals with some really weird alternate lifestyles and causes they believed in. Holy mackerel, viva la vida.  Thats fine, we all have different paths, but it's just totally worthless information to me and with Twitter and Facebook you get those who want to spill guts all over the place and for a while we all are nosy, thats human. It gets boring. 
 

ARTICLE FROM PC WORLD MAGAZINE — Social networking sites--notably Facebook and Twitter--have recently been the target of cyber criminals due to their large user base. In February 2010 alone, market research firm comScore pegs Filipino Internet users visiting social networking sites at 90.3%, spending an average of 332.2 minutes (or roughly five and a half hours) on such sites, the highest in the region.

And where there are users, there are those who take advantage. According to Sophos's 2010 security threat report, at least 57% of social networking users have reported receiving spam via these services, a giant leap of 70.6% from a year ago.

Social networking spam, Phua clarified, include messages, status updates, and wall posts that promote a certain product. Click-jacking--or hiding the original spam URL through a URL shortening service--is also a prevalent method for spam.

Cyber-criminals —  who, Phua noted, have become more notorious and financially-driven over the years--are also the main perpetrators of malware over social media. Just recently, Facebook users were bombarded by their friends' compromised accounts with wall posts containing the "sexiest video ever," a malware that installs an adware on the user's browser once viewed.

If you analyze what you do when you go on line with one of these networking sites you discover the following; In reality there is nothing there, it's more like the local chit-chat convention, a plethora of basically useless information except for the bigger companies who have learned how to use the players to their advantage. You could find closer friends at a library or a Bruce Springsteen Concert.

If you can't keep back all that personal information and you are just boiling to spill it, get a blog. And a fake name.  There is one thing to be Sally and heres my avatar but another to be Sally and here's what my underwear looks like unless Sally makes a living at showing her underwear.

Numbers mean nothing:  You could have twenty thousand contacts, tell them you are broke, and need money.  Thats how you achieve the right Karma. You can then brag at one time : “ You had twenty-thousand contacts and friends". Traffic and numbers mean nothing.  Be careful what you look for and be careful if you find it on the social networks.

Today, May 26th the Congress is "interviewing the President of Face Book" for simpler guidance and information disclosures.  Thats like a discussion with "Attila the Hun" on cake bake sales. 


TODAY’S SOCIAL MEDIA DILEMMA

JANUARY 2022  —  CONGRESS MEETS ZUCKERBERG

01/2022  —  Hello, Meta. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that Facebook the company is changing its name to Meta to reflect its growing focus on the metaverse. “From now on, we're going to be the Metaverse first, not Facebook first,” Zuckerberg said at the company's annual Connect Conference Thursday.

Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report CEO Mark Zuckerberg has drawn plenty of fire for being conspicuously silent since the news came out this week that as many as 50 million Facebook users might have had their data gathered and used improperly by a political research organization. But any calls to admonish or even replace the 33-year-old chief executive would be extremely difficult, analysts and experts say.

That's because of Facebook's controversial dual-class stock structure that gives Zuckerberg a majority voting power of the stock. According to The Economist, Zuckerberg owns just about 16% of Facebook's stock, but controls 60% of the voting rights since the class B shares he owns convey 10 times the votes as the class A shares. 

On Tuesday, Facebook's stock fell nearly 3% after falling almost 7% on Monday, and pressure has been growing on Zuckerberg and other top executives to publicly address the issue. The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating whether Facebook mishandled user data, and British and American lawmakers have called on Zuckerberg and other executives at Facebook to answer questions about what happened. Meanwhile, The Verge reported that Facebook planned to hold an  emergency internal meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss the situation with employees. 

Like fellow tech companies Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Reportand Snap Inc. (SNAP) - Get Snap, Inc. Class A Report , Facebook has a dual-class stock structure that vests a disproportionate amount of voting power in their respective companies' founder-CEOs, holding them much less beholden to their boards than would otherwise be the case.

"On one extreme, a company's board holds management accountable; on the other extreme, it advises management on issues," said A.T. Kearney lead partner of retail practice Greg Portell. "What's unique about Facebook's board is that management is the primary shareholder... advising and oversight being one and the same." 

At the same time, however, Portell noted that Facebook's board is not simply a rubber stamp organization composed of friends and family.


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Whistle Blower Exposed  —  The identity of the Facebook whistleblower who released tens of thousands of pages of internal research and documents — leading to a firestorm for the social media company in recent weeks — was revealed on "60 Minutes" Sunday night as Frances Haugen.

The 37-year-old former Facebook product manager who worked on civic integrity issues at the company says the documents show that Facebook knows its platforms are used to spread hate, violence and misinformation, and that the company has tried to hide that evidence. 

"The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook, and Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money," Haugen told "60 Minutes." 

"60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelly quoted one internal Facebook (FB) document as saying: "We have evidence from a variety of sources that hate speech, divisive political speech and misinformation on Facebook and the family of apps are affecting societies around the world.

SIDEBAR:    Scumbag facebook executive says,  “  It's 'ludicrous' to blame Jan. 6 on social media”  Really?  Facts show you aided and abetted, maybe you did not light the fire, you just supplied the fuel,  and the matches you asshole for the dirtiest propaganda by the dirtiest people in this country.  
Thats why in reality during a bank robbery, the driver of the get-away-car is just as guilty as the ones that went inside and did the robbery.  It’s called being an accomplice.We call it community scum-bagging.


About a month ago, Haugen filed at least eight complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the company is hiding research about its shortcomings from investors and the public. She also shared the documents with the Wall Street Journal, which published a multi-part investigation showing that Facebook was aware of problems with its apps, including the negative effects of misinformation and the harm caused, especially to young girls, by Instagram. 

Haugen, who started at Facebook in 2019 after previously working for other tech giants like Google (GOOGL GOOGLE) and Pinterest (PINS), is set to testify on Tuesday before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security.

"I've seen a bunch of social networks, and it was substantially worse at Facebook than anything I've seen before," Haugen said. "At some point in 2021, I realized I'm going to have to do this in a systemic way, that I'm going to have to get out enough [documents] that no one can question that this is real." 

Facebook has aggressively pushed back against the reports, calling many of the claims "misleading" and arguing that its apps do more good than harm.

"Every day our teams have to balance protecting the ability of billions of people to express themselves openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place," Facebook spokesperson Lena Pietsch said in a statement to CNN Business immediately following the "60 Minutes" interview. "We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content. To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true." 

Several hours after the interview aired, Pietsch released a more than 700-word statement laying out what it called "missing facts" from the segment, and saying the interview "used select company materials to tell a misleading story about the research we do to improve our products."

A spokesperson for "60 Minutes" did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business on Facebook's claims.  On Sunday morning ahead of the "60 Minutes" interview, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg told CNN's Brian Stelter that "there is no perfection on social media as much as in any other walk of life."

"We do a huge amount of research, we share it with external researchers as much as we can, but do remember there is ... a world of difference between doing a peer-reviewed exercise in cooperation with other academics and preparing papers internally to provoke and inform internal discussion," Clegg said.

Haugen said she believes Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg   "never set out to make a hateful platform, but he has allowed choices to be made where the side effects of those choices are that hateful and polarizing content gets more distribution and more reach.” 

Haugen said she was recruited by Facebook in 2019 and took the job to work on addressing misinformation. But after the company decided to dissolve its civic integrity team shortly after the 2020 Presidential Election, her feelings about the company started to change. 

She suggested that this decision — and moves by the company to turn off other election protection measures such as misinformation prevention tools — 

—  Allowed The Platform To Be Used To Help Organize 

The January 6 Riot On Capitol Hill  —  

"They basically said, 'Oh good, we made it through the election, there weren't riots, we can get rid of civic integrity now,'" she said. "Fast forward a couple of months, and we had the Insurrection. When they got rid of civic integrity, it was the moment where I was like, 'I don't trust that they're willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous.'" 

Facebook says the civic integrity team's work was distributed to other units when it was dissolved. Facebook Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen said on Twitter Sunday night that the group was integrated into other teams so the "work pioneered for elections could be applied even further."

The social media company's algorithm that's designed to show users content that they're most likely to engage with is responsible for many of its problems, Haugen said. 

SIDEBAR:  Solution  —  It’s time to breakup Facebook, even dismiss Facebook, and bring some sense into the monster and if it means hanging a few execs out in the wilderness with a rope around their necks so be it , the harm has been done. But it should not go on.


Facebook Grilled By Senate Over Company's Impact On Kids  —   "One of the consequences of how Facebook is picking out that content today is that it is optimizing for content that gets engagement, a reaction, but its own research is showing that content that is hateful, that is divisive, that is polarizing, it's easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions," she said. She added that the company recognizes that "if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they'll click on less ads, and — as we always say follow the money  —

 “ THEY'LL MAKE LESS MONEY." 

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Facebook's Pietsch said in her Sunday night statement that the platform depends on "being used in ways that bring people closer together" to attract advertisers, adding, "protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.”    In an internal memo obtained by the New York Times earlier Sunday, Clegg disputed claims that Facebook contributed to the January 6 riot.

"Social media has had a big impact on society in recent years, and Facebook is often a place where much of this debate plays out," Clegg said in the memo. "So it's natural for people to ask whether it is part of the problem. But the idea that Facebook is the chief cause of polarization isn't supported by the facts."

Haugen said that while "no one at Facebook is malevolent ... the incentives are misaligned."

"Facebook makes more money when you consume more content. People enjoy engaging with things that elicit an emotional reaction," she said. "And the more anger that they get exposed to, the more they interact and the more they consume.”   


Dangerous Turf For Kids  —  A Facebook executive was grilled by Senators on Thursday about the impact its apps have on younger users, two weeks after an explosive report indicated the company was aware that Facebook-owned Instagram could have a "toxic" effect on teen girls.

The hearing, featuring Facebook's global head of safety, Antigone Davis, is the first of two that the Senate Commerce Committee is holding on how Facebook approaches its younger users. Next week, the committee is expected to receive testimony from a Facebook whistleblower. 

"We now know that Facebook routinely puts profits ahead of kids' online safety. We know it chooses the growth of its products over the well-being of our children," Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in opening remarks at the hearing. "And we now know it is indefensibly delinquent in acting to protect them."

"The question that haunts me," Blumenthal added, "is how can we, or parents, or anyone, trust Facebook?"

In a sign of the bipartisan pressure on this issue, Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn echoed Blumenthal in her opening remarks directed at Facebook. "We do not trust you with influencing our children," she said.


Facebook Is Hitting The Brakes On Instagram For Kids  —  The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that researchers at Facebook have been conducting studies for the past three years into how Instagram, which it owns, affects its millions of young users. The research shows the platform can damage mental health and body image, especially among teenaged girls. 

Blumenthal said his office created an Instagram account identifying as a 13-year-old girl. It followed some easily discoverable accounts associated with extreme dieting and eating disorders. Within a day, he said, the Instagram recommendations were "exclusively filled" with other accounts that promoted self harm and eating disorders. (Davis said those accounts would be in violation of Instagram's policies that crack down on content promoting self-harm.)

Following the Journal report, Instagram said it was looking at new ways to discourage users from focusing on their physical appearance. The company also said that while Instagram can be a place where people have "negative experiences," the app also gives a voice to marginalized people and helps friends and family stay connected.

"What's been lost in this report is that in fact with this research, we've found that more teen girls actually find Instagram helpful -- teen girls who are suffering from these issues find Instagram helpful than not," Davis said Thursday. "Now that doesn't mean that the ones that aren't, aren't important to us. In fact, that's why we do this research."

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“  Davis, who identified herself as a mother and former teacher, also pushed back on the idea that the report was a "bombshell" and did not commit to releasing a full research report, noting potential "privacy considerations." She said Facebook is "looking for ways to release more research.

SIDEBAR  TRANSLATION  —  This statement means she needs more time to make up better lies  —  Listening to her was like listening to Ilse Koch, "The Bitch of Buchenwald”. A lying turnoff.

“If you need to do more research on this, you should fire everyone you paid to do research,” replied Markey. “IG stands for Instagram, but it also stands for Insta-greed.”

“If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that self-regulation is not an option,” added Markey, comparing Facebook to big tobacco companies that pushed deadly products on children and teens. “Instagram is that first childhood cigarette.”

The report, and the renewed pressure from lawmakers in its aftermath, also appeared to force Instagram to rethink its plans to introduce a version of its service for kids under 13. Days before the hearing this week, Instagram said it would press pause on the project.

"While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we've decided to pause this project," Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post published Monday. "This will give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today."

In the blog post Monday, Mosseri acknowledged that the Journal's reporting "has raised a lot of questions for people." Those questions may only persist after the hearing.

"For 2.5 hours, Ms. Davis offered evasions and misdirections, but refused to commit to a single substantive change or even greater transparency," Josh Golin, executive director at Fairplay, a child advocacy group formerly known as the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a statement Thursday. "She also continued to push the fiction that Facebook's interest in Instagram Kids is driven by concern for children's safety when the company's own leaked documents make clear it's part of a larger strategy for growth and to compete with TikTok and Snap for young users.

“While Facebook publicly denies that Facebook is harmful for teens, privately Facebook experts and researchers have been ringing the alarm for years,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Shortly afterward, the Journal published a more comprehensive series of slides than those that were released by Facebook, including a slideshow called “Teen Girls Body Image and Social Comparison on Instagram.” 

That report included a study showing that 66 percent of teen girls and 40 percent of teen boys on Instagram “experience negative social comparison.” When teen girls felt bad about their bodies, 32 percent said Instagram made them feel worse, according to the slides shared by the Journal. 

Davis said Facebook was trying to release more of its Instagram studies but did not provide a concrete commitment or timeline.                                         PISSED OFF SIDEBAR:  They pay this lying bitch?



SASHA BARON COHEN SPEAKS OUT

SASHA BARON COHEN  —  In a speech last night at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen attacked Facebook and other social media platforms for enabling the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation.  The speech was striking in its sincerity – Baron Cohen appeared as himself, rather than “in character” as one of his satirical personas – and its blistering tone.

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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.

Here Is The Full Transcript, From His Prepared Remarks  —  Thank you, ADL, for this recognition and your work in fighting racism, hate and bigotry. And to be clear, when I say “ Racism, hate and bigotry” I’m not referring to the names of Stephen Miller’s Labradoodles.

Now, I realize that some of you may be thinking, what the hell is a comedian doing speaking at a conference like this! I certainly am.  I’ve spent most of the past two decades in character. In fact, this is the first time that I have ever stood up and given a speech as my least popular character, Sacha Baron Cohen. And I have to confess, it is terrifying.  I realize that my presence here may also be unexpected for another reason. At times, some critics have said my comedy risks reinforcing old stereotypes.

The truth is, I’ve been passionate about challenging bigotry and intolerance throughout my life. As a teenager in the UK, I marched against the fascist National Front and to abolish apartheid. As an undergraduate, I traveled around America and wrote my thesis about the civil rights movement, with the help of the archives of the ADL.  And as a comedian, I’ve tried to use my characters to get people to let down their guard and reveal what they actually believe, including their own prejudice.

Now, I’m not going to claim that everything I’ve done has been for a higher purpose.  Yes, some of my comedy, OK probably half my comedy, has been absolutely juvenile and the other half completely puerile. I admit, there was nothing particularly enlightening about me – as Borat from Kazakhstan, the first fake news journalist – running through a conference of mortgage brokers when I was completely naked.

But when Borat was able to get an entire bar in Arizona to sing “Throw the Jew down the well,” it did reveal people’s indifference to antisemitism. When – as Bruno, the gay fashion reporter from Austria – I started kissing a man in a cage fight in Arkansas, nearly starting a riot, it showed the violent potential of homophobia. And when – disguised as an ultra-woke developer – I proposed building a mosque in one rural community, prompting a resident to proudly admit, “I am racist, against Muslims” – it showed the acceptance of Islamophobia.

That’s why I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you. Today around the world, demagogues appeal to our worst instincts. Conspiracy theories once confined to the fringe are going mainstream. It’s as if the Age of Reason – the era of evidential argument – is ending, and now knowledge is delegitimized and scientific consensus is dismissed. Democracy, which depends on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march. Hate crimes are surging, as are murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities.

What do all these dangerous trends have in common? 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  —  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. It’s why YouTube recommended videos by the conspiracist Alex Jones billions of times. It’s why fake news outperforms real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truth. And it’s no surprise that the greatest propaganda machine in history has spread the oldest conspiracy theory in history – the lie that Jews are somehow dangerous. As one headline put it, “Just Think What Goebbels Could Have Done with Facebook.”

On the internet, everything can appear equally legitimate. Breitbart resembles the BBC. The fictitious Protocols of the Elders of Zion look as valid as an ADL report. And the rantings of a lunatic seem as credible as the findings of a Nobel prize winner. We have lost, it seems, a shared sense of the basic facts upon which democracy depends.

When I, as the wannabe gangsta Ali G, asked the astronaut Buzz Aldrin “what woz it like to walk on de sun?” the joke worked, because we, the audience, shared the same facts. If you believe the moon landing was a hoax, the joke was not funny.

When Borat got that bar in Arizona to agree that “Jews control everybody’s money and never give it back,” the joke worked because the audience shared the fact that the depiction of Jews as miserly is a conspiracy theory originating in the Middle Ages.

But when, thanks to social media, conspiracies take hold, it’s easier for hate groups to recruit, easier for foreign intelligence agencies to interfere in our elections, and easier for a country like Myanmar to commit genocide against the Rohingya.

It’s actually quite shocking how easy it is to turn conspiracy thinking into violence. In my last show Who is America?,  I found an educated, normal guy who had held down a good job, but who, on social media, repeated many of the conspiracy theories that President Trump, using Twitter, has spread more than 1,700 times to his 67 million followers. The president even tweeted that he was considering designating Antifa – anti-fascists who march against the far right – as a terror organization.

So, disguised as an Israel anti-terrorism expert, Colonel Erran Morad, I told my interviewee that, at the Women’s March in San Francisco, Antifa were plotting to put hormones into babies’ diapers in order to “make them transgender”. And he believed it.

I instructed him to plant small devices on three innocent people at the march and explained that when he pushed a button, he’d trigger an explosion that would kill them all. They weren’t real explosives, of course, but he thought they were. I wanted to see – would he actually do it?

The answer was yes. He pushed the button and thought he had actually killed three human beings.  Voltaire was right: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” And social media lets authoritarians push absurdities to billions of people.

In their defense, these social media companies have taken some steps to reduce hate and conspiracies on their platforms, but these steps have been mostly superficial.

I’m speaking up today because I believe that our pluralistic democracies are on a precipice and that the next 12 months, and the role of social media, could be determinant. 

  • British voters will go to the polls while online conspiracists promote the despicable theory of “great replacement” that white Christians are being deliberately replaced by Muslim immigrants. 
  • Americans will vote for president while trolls and bots perpetuate the disgusting lie of a “Hispanic invasion”. And after years of YouTube videos calling climate change a “hoax”, the United States is on track, a year from now, to formally withdraw from the Paris accords. A sewer of bigotry and vile conspiracy theories that threatens democracy and our planet – this cannot possibly be what the creators of the internet had in mind.

I believe it’s time for a fundamental rethink of social media and how it spreads hate, conspiracies and lies. Last month, however, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook delivered a major speech that, not surprisingly, warned against new laws and regulations on companies like his. Well, some of these arguments are simply absurd. Let’s count the ways.

  • First, Zuckerberg tried to portray this whole issue as “choices … around free expression”. That is ludicrous. This is not about limiting anyone’s free speech. This is about giving people, including some of the most reprehensible people on earth, the biggest platform in history to reach a third of the planet. 
  • Freedom of speech is not freedom of reach. Sadly, there will always be racists, misogynists, antisemites and child abusers. But I think we could all agree that we should not be giving bigots and pedophiles a free platform to amplify their views and target their victims.
  • Second, Zuckerberg claimed that new limits on what’s posted on social media would be to “pull back on free expression”. This is utter nonsense. The first amendment says that “Congress shall make no law” abridging freedom of speech, however, this does not apply to private businesses like Facebook. 
  • We’re not asking these companies to determine the boundaries of free speech across society. We just want them to be responsible on their platforms.
  • If a neo-Nazi comes goose-stepping into a restaurant and starts threatening other customers and saying he wants 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.
  • Third, Zuckerberg seemed to equate regulation of companies like his to the actions of “the most repressive societies”. Incredible. This, from one of the six people who decide what information so much of the world sees. Zuckerberg at Facebook, Sundar Pichai at Google, at its parent company Alphabet, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Brin’s ex-sister-in-law, Susan Wojcicki at YouTube and Jack Dorsey at Twitter.
  • 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. It’s like we’re living in the Roman Empire, and Mark Zuckerberg is Caesar. At least that would explain his haircut.
  • Here’s an idea. Instead of letting the Silicon Six decide the fate of the world, let our elected representatives, voted for by the people, of every democracy in the world, have at least some say.
  • Fourth, Zuckerberg speaks of welcoming a “diversity of ideas”, and last year he gave us an example. He said that he found posts denying the Holocaust “deeply offensive”, but he didn’t think Facebook should take them down “because I think there are things that different people get wrong”. 
  • At this very moment, there are still Holocaust deniers on Facebook, and Google still takes you to the most repulsive Holocaust denial sites with a simple click. One of the heads of Google once told me, incredibly, that these sites just show “both sides” of the issue. This is madness.
  • To quote Edward R Murrow, one “cannot accept that there are, on every story, two equal and logical sides to an argument”. We have millions of pieces of evidence for the Holocaust – it is an historical fact. And denying it is not some random opinion. Those who deny the Holocaust aim to encourage another one.
  • Still, Zuckerberg says that “people should decide what is credible, not tech companies.” But at a time when two-thirds of millennials say they haven’t even heard of Auschwitz, how are they supposed to know what’s “credible”? How are they supposed to know that the lie is a lie?
  • There is such a thing as objective truth. Facts do exist. And if these internet companies really want to make a difference, they should hire enough monitors to actually monitor, work closely with groups like the ADL, insist on facts and purge these lies and conspiracies from their platforms.
  • Fifth, when discussing the difficulty of removing content, Zuckerberg asked “where do you draw the line?” Yes, drawing the line can be difficult. But here’s what he’s really saying: removing more of these lies and conspiracies is just too expensive.
  • These are the richest companies in the world, and they have the best engineers in the world. They could fix these problems if they wanted to. Twitter could deploy an algorithm to remove more white supremacist hate speech, but they reportedly haven’t because it would eject some very prominent politicians from their platform. Maybe that’s not a bad thing! The truth is, these companies won’t fundamentally change because their entire business model relies on generating more engagement, and nothing generates more engagement than lies, fear and outrage.
  • It’s time to finally call these companies what they really are – the largest publishers in history. And here’s an idea for them: abide by basic standards and practices just like newspapers, magazines and TV news do every day. We have standards and practices in television and the movies; there are certain things we cannot say or do.
  • In England, I was told that Ali G could not curse when he appeared before 9pm. Here in the US, the Motion Picture Association of America regulates and rates what we see. I’ve had scenes in my movies cut or reduced to abide by those standards. If there are standards and practices for what cinemas and television channels can show, then surely companies that publish material to billions of people should have to abide by basic standards and practices too.
  • Take the issue of political ads. Fortunately, Twitter finally banned them, and Google is making changes, too. But if you pay them, Facebook will run any “political” ad you want, even if it’s a lie. And they’ll even help you micro-target those lies to their users for maximum effect. Under this twisted logic, if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his “solution” to the “Jewish problem”. 
  • So here’s a good standard and practice: Facebook, start factchecking political ads before you run them, stop micro-targeted lies immediately, and when the ads are false, give back the money and don’t publish them.
  • Here’s another good practice: slow down. Every single post doesn’t need to be published immediately. Oscar Wilde once said that “we live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.” But is having every thought or video posted instantly online, even if it is racist or criminal or murderous, really a necessity? Of course not!
  • The shooter who massacred Muslims in New Zealand live-streamed his atrocity on Facebook where it then spread across the internet and was viewed likely millions of times. It was a snuff film, brought to you by social media. Why can’t we have more of a delay so this trauma-inducing filth can be caught and stopped before it’s posted in the first place?
  • Finally, Zuckerberg said that social media companies should “live up to their responsibilities”, but he’s totally silent about what should happen when they don’t. By now it’s pretty clear, they cannot be trusted to regulate themselves. As with the Industrial Revolution, it’s time for regulation and legislation to curb the greed of these hi-tech robber barons.
  • In every other industry, a company can be held liable when their product is defective. When engines explode or seatbelts malfunction, car companies recall tens of thousands of vehicles, at a cost of billions of dollars. It only seems fair to say to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter: your product is defective, you are obliged to fix it, no matter how much it costs and no matter how many moderators you need to employ.
  • 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. I’ve been sued many times! I’m being sued right now by someone whose name I won’t mention because he might sue me again! But social media companies are largely protected from liability for the content their users post – no matter how indecent it is – by Section 230 of, get ready for it, the Communications Decency Act. Absurd!
  • Fortunately, internet companies can now be held responsible for pedophiles who use their sites to target children. I say, let’s also hold these companies responsible for those who use their sites to advocate for the mass murder of children because of their race or religion. And maybe fines are not enough. Maybe it’s time to tell Mark Zuckerberg and the CEOs of these companies: you already allowed one foreign power to interfere in our elections, you already facilitated one genocide in Myanmar, do it again and you go to jail
  • In the end, it all comes down to what kind of world we want. In his speech, Zuckerberg said that one of his main goals is to “uphold as wide a definition of freedom of expression as possible”. Yet our freedoms are not only an end in themselves, they’re also the means to another end – as you say here in the US, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But today these rights are threatened by hate, conspiracies and lies.
  • Allow me to leave you with a suggestion for a different aim for society. The ultimate aim of society should be to make sure that people are not targeted, not harassed and not murdered because of who they are, where they come from, who they love or how they pray.
  • If we make that our aim – if we prioritize truth over lies, tolerance over prejudice, empathy over indifference and experts over ignoramuses – then maybe, just maybe, we can stop the greatest propaganda machine in history, we can save democracy, we can still have a place for free speech and free expression, and, most importantly, my jokes will still work.
  • Thank you all very much,


Sasha Baron Cohen

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