Former Facebook execs warn of Social Networking risks to people and society

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The favorite sharing website is designed to be addicting, partners say

It is almost as if the CEO of a famous soft drink business came out and said he will not let his children drink the stuff. Or the fellow responsible for security checks in a major automobile manufacturer confessed that he gets nervous when he drives the vehicles within 60 mph.

Two former executives in Facebook have expressed deep reservations regarding what impacts social networking is having on the heads of both young individuals and on society generally.

In early November, Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, stated in an interview using Axios that societal networks intentionally hook individuals and possibly harm our brains.

Every time a social network “grows to a billion or 2 billion people … it actually changes your relationship with society, with each other,” Parker explained. “It probably interferes with growth in weird ways. God only knows what it is doing to our children’s brains”

Parker, who’s founder and chairman of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, stated that when Facebook was in its growth phase, its planners were thinking of ways to “consume as much of your time and mindful focus as you can.” The response was to play on people’s demand for attention and affirmation.

“So that we need to kind of provide a tiny dopamine strike every once in a while, as somebody enjoyed or commented about a photo or a post or anything. And that’s likely to get you to bring more content, and that’s likely to get you … more enjoys and opinions.”

Days later, Facebook’s former head of consumer expansion agreed, stating  Facebook encourages “fake, brittle fame,” leaving users feeling empty and needing another strike, based on The Verge. In a talk at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Chamath Palihapitiya  implied this “vicious circle” drives individuals to maintain sharing articles they believe will gain other people’s approval.

The consequence which Facebook has on society is poor enough, in his view, that individuals need to choose a “hard break” out of it.   He said he attempts to use it as little as you can, and will not let his children to use it at all.

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are ruining how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, [however] misinformation, mistruth,” said Palihapitiya,  who’s currently CEO of Social Capital.   “I believe we have created tools which are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”

Palihapitiya could talk from his experience at Facebook, however other interpersonal networking platforms can be equally as poor, he implied. In India, as an example, some individuals shared hoax messages regarding kidnappings around WhatsApp, finally resulting in the lynching of innocent individuals.

“Picture taking that into the intense, where poor actors are now able to manipulate large swaths of individuals to do anything you want. It is just a really, really bad condition of events,” said Palihapitiya.

Facebook has responded to Palihapitiya’s criticism, stating that he has not worked for six years.

“Facebook has been a really different business back then,” the firm said, as reported by Fortune magazine.   “As we have grown, we have understood how our responsibilities have grown too. We take our job very seriously and we are working hard to improve… We are also making significant investments longer in individuals technology and processeses– and –as Mark Zuckerberg mentioned on the last earnings call–we are eager to decrease our profitability to make certain the perfect investments are made.”