A former Facebook executive has spoken out against the site, saying it is “destroying how society works”.
Chamath Palihapitiya, who was the company’s vice president of user growth from 2007 to 2011, says he feels “tremendous guilt” about Facebook, and has banned his children from using it.
His criticisms echo similar comments made by Facebook's first president, who says the site has developed special ways of ensuring users give their personal life over to it without even realising.
“I feel tremendous guilt,” he added. “I think we all knew in the back of our minds, even though we feigned this whole line of ‘there probably aren’t any really bad unintended consequences’.
“I think in the deep, deep recesses of our minds we kind of knew something bad could happen.”
He said he tries to use Facebook as little as he can, and recommends that people take a “hard break” from all social media – not just the site created by Mark Zuckerberg.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to the online interactions used across social media sites, such as Likes.
“[There’s] no civil discourse, no cooperation; [only] misinformation, mistruth.”
He continued: “We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection because we get rewarded in these short-term signals – Hearts and Likes and Thumbs-Up. We conflate that with value and we conflate that with truth, and instead what it really is is fake brittle popularity that’s short-term, and leaves you even more vacant and empty.”
Palihapitiya’s comments were made shortly after Facebook’s first president Sean Parker described how the site keeps people hooked, and how it might be changing the way people’s minds work.
“God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains,” he said.
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