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Disney CEO calls social media a ‘powerful marketing tool’ for extremism

Disney CEO calls social media a ‘powerful marketing tool’ for extremism


‘Hitler would have loved social media’

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Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit 2018 - Day 1
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Disney CEO Bob Iger criticized social media platforms for allowing hate to spread, saying they enable the distribution of misinformation and the propagation of “vile ideology.”

Iger referred to social media as something Hitler “would have loved,” according to Variety, while accepting a humanitarian award earlier today from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights nonprofit that’s named after a Holocaust survivor. He added that social media is the “most powerful marketing tool an extremist could ever hope for.” Social media is designed to amplify “our deepest fears,” according to Iger, while also “constantly validating our convictions.”

“It creates a false sense that everyone shares the same opinion,” Iger said. “Social media allows evil to prey on troubled minds and lost souls and we all know that social news feeds can contain more fiction than fact, propagating vile ideology that has no place in a civil society that values human life.”

His comments come at a time when Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Instagram are being accosted for allowing hateful ideologies to spread around the world and not doing enough to stop dangerous conspiracy theorists from gaming their algorithms. All of the aforementioned companies have admitted they can do better and have introduced a series of policy changes and platform shifts to try to combat the misuses of their products.

Iger isn’t the first CEO to acknowledge that more can be done to prevent hatred from spreading online. Apple CEO Tim Cook called out white supremacists while he was accepting his “Courage Against Hate” award from the Anti-Defamation League in December. Cook told white supremacists and “dangerous conspiracy theorists” that they don’t have a home on Apple’s services. His comments came not too long after Apple removed Alex Jones’ Infowars from the App Store. Iger sits on the board of Apple. Neither Apple nor Disney owns social media platforms.

“We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, or violence: You have no place on our platforms,” Cook said.

Iger also used his time onstage to ask people in the room to “once again renounce and reject hate in all forms.”