Sean Parker: Facebook exploits vulnerability in human psychology

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Sean Parker talks Facebook: "God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."

Sean Parker talks Facebook: “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”


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Sean Parker, Facebook’s first president, had some harsh phrases concerning the social community throughout an interview this week.

The tech investor, additionally a co-founder of Napster and, maybe most recognizably, the man performed by Justin Timberlake in “The Social Network,” mentioned Facebook was designed to use the best way folks basically badume and behave.

There have been “unintended consequences,” Parker mentioned, now that Facebook has grown to incorporate 2 billion folks — two out of each seven folks on the planet.

“It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” he mentioned in an interview printed Wednesday night time by Axios. “It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Facebook did not reply to a request for touch upon Parker’s remarks.

The firm, together with rivals Twitter and Google, has been beneath intense scrutiny for its energy and affect. The three tech giants testified in marathon congressional hearings final week over the affect of social networks on final 12 months’s US presidential election, and the way Russian brokers leveraged social media to sow discord amongst folks. As Facebook tries to atone, lawmakers have repeatedly introduced up the opportunity of regulation.

Parker on Wednesday drilled into the addictive nature of Facebook that retains so many people coming again. He mentioned it is all by design, as a result of receiving a “like” or a remark in your put up provides you a bit of hit of dopamine.

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

But that did not matter to folks like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, he mentioned. Or Kevin Systrom, founding father of Instagram, which Facebook owns. Or even himself. In addition to co-founding Napster in 1999, he began Airtime, a video social community that by no means gained traction. Now he is the founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

“The inventors, creators … understood this consciously,” he mentioned. “And we did it anyway.”

Parker is not the one ex-Facebooker to boost considerations concerning the addictive nature of the social community and about tech’s psychological and societal results. Justin Rosenstein, the engineer who created the like button, instructed the Guardian final month that “it is very common for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences.”

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