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Fox News host Greg Gutfeld was unsympathetic towards comedic actor Sacha Baron Cohen after the latter complained that Facebook censored a column he wrote for Time magazine over a photograph accompanying the piece.
Cohen’s piece, “We Must Save Democracy From Conspiracies,” focuses on his fears that “a flood of hate, lies, and conspiracies,” he says are being “spewed by demagogues and spread by social media” risks destroying “our pluralistic democracies.”
The column is accompanied by a photo of a man attending an anti-coronavirus lockdown rally in Huntington Beach, Calif., in May who is wearing a mask adorned with a small sign that says, “COVID-19 is a Hoax.”
In a tweet, Cohen blasted Facebook for censoring his column, which he alleged is due to the platform’s algorithm honing in on the mask message as being false.
But in ripping Facebook for censorship, Cohen appears to support it in certain instances.
“@Facebook – I criticized you for not blocking false info about Covid. Now your AI is blocking my article because the photo has false info about Covid!” Cohen wrote, adding: “Instead of just AI, use the $ you’ve made during Covid to hire more humans to moderate and factcheck!”
That seemingly contradictory statement got the attention of Gutfeld, who responded, “The censor gets censored.”
The censor gets censored. https://t.co/cLaZyVROHo
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) October 25, 2020
In his column, Cohen wrote that for the bulk of his career, “I’ve been reluctant to take a public stance on the issues of the day.”
However, he used his column as another opportunity to attack President Donald Trump as well as Facebook.
“Today, however, is a uniquely dangerous moment. 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,” Cohen wrote.
After misrepresenting things that Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have said in the past about various topics, Cohen then laid into Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, describing the platform as “a megaphone that history’s worst autocrats could only dream of.”
“Its algorithm deliberately amplifies content that generates more engagement—and as one unnamed Facebook executive recently told Politico, ‘Right-wing populism is always more engaging’ because it triggers ‘anger, fear’ and ‘an incredibly strong, primitive emotion.’ Not surprisingly, most days the top 10 Facebook posts are overwhelmingly from right-wing pundits and outlets,” Cohen claimed.
In fact, experts and legal analysts have said it’s right-leaning news and information sites that are regularly silenced or banned outright from the platform.
Also, to Gutfeld’s point, Cohen adds:
Facebook largely refuses to fact-check political ads and posts—which it then microtargets to voters. And Facebook still hasn’t taken down Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Astonishingly, Facebook continues to give a platform to white supremacists and Holocaust deniers. It’s as if the satirist Jonathan Swift foresaw the awful power of social media when he said, “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it.”
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