Sacha Baron Cohen Helped Facebook Issue Ban On Holocaust Denial
Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen has been credited with putting pressure on Facebook to issue its recent ban on content denying the Holocaust.
The social media company announced this week that it would be updating its hate speech policy to prohibit any posts that deny or distort the events of the Holocaust, with Facebook’s Vice President of Content Policy saying the move was supported by the ‘well-documented rise in anti-Semitism… and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust.’
Twitter followed suit two days later, announcing it would ‘take action against content that glorifies or praises historical acts of violence and genocide, including the Holocaust.’
The decision to take action comes ahead of a series of promotional appearances Cohen is about to start making for his Borat sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
The actor has previously condemned social media for giving a platform to anti-Semitic information under the guise of free speech, and he reportedly had plans to further vilify Facebook during his appearances, which start this week.
With this in mind, it is possible Facebook and Twitter implemented the bans in an effort to take the heat off the companies and prove they are taking action.
Speaking to Deadline about the notable timing of the bans, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt commended Cohen for his ‘relentless’ efforts to draw attention to the issue, saying that his work both onscreen and in public appearances has helped keep the pressure on.
We closely track anti-Semitic incidents and last year saw the highest totals we’ve seen in the four decades we’ve been doing this work.
I wish they had done this ban sooner, but I’m glad they have, and we will follow up to make sure they keep their word. Sacha’s evangelism and his follow through — I’m certain it was helpful. It kept the issue in the public eye.
In an article published in TIME Magazine earlier this month, Cohen described Facebook as ‘the greatest propaganda machine in history’.
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.”
The Borat star has reportedly dedicated his upcoming film to Judith Dim Evans, who appears in the film and lost her family members during the Holocaust.
As part of his efforts to create the film, Cohen is said to have played an ignorant character ‘as a means of Holocaust education’, encouraging Evans to share her story as she challenged Cohen’s anti-Semitic character.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan will be available to stream on Amazon from October 23.
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