Sacha Baron Cohen has made a scathing assessment of the social media landscape, going as far as to suggest that Facebook would have sold ads to Adolf Hitler had it been around in the 1930s.

The comedian made his remarks during a speech at the Anti Defamation League’s International Leadership Summit, saying social media has become “the greatest propaganda machine in history.”

He said that the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube promote bigotry and “amplify” the types of stories that “appeal to our baser instincts [and] trigger outrage and fear”, adding:

“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 … As one headline put it, just think what Goebbels could have done with Facebook.”

Baron Cohen then went even further, criticising Facebook for the types of content it promotes, saying:

“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’.”

He also condemned social media as “a sewer of bigotry and vile conspiracy theories that threaten our democracy”, saying “this can’t possibly be what the creators of the internet had in mind.”

You can watch his entire speech below:

Image: Getty Images / Axelle / Bauer-Griffin