The true essence of social media was realized by many this year. A list of founding executives including Facebook’s first president, Mr. Sean Parker are top among the list to publicly question the impact that social networking platforms have on everyone’s lives. Just last month, Parker came forward to express his regret over helping create Facebook. At that time, he said that he didn’t understand “the consequences,” of what he was doing. He went on to admit that it is “because of the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or two billion people, and it changes your relationship with society, with each other.”
“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” Parker said in a worrisome tone.
Parker is not the only one to talk about the issues pertaining social media websites. Former Vice President of User Growth at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya also recently spoke about his concerns regarding social networking platforms. In a recent public discussion that took place at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Palihapitiya addressed the audience by saying, “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” Palihapitiya worked at Facebook from 2005 to 2011. Palihapitiya’s statements were in agreement to the concern that Parker expressed a couple of months back.
According to Parker, websites like Facebook are creating “a social-validation feedback loop” that gives people “a little dopamine hit” every time someone likes, comments or shares their post. Palihapitiya used the same term during his speech at Standford as well. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” Palihapitiya was quoted as saying. He even admitted that there is no “civil discourse” or cooperation on websites like Facebook, which is leading to the spread of misinformation and mistruth. Referring to it as a “global problem,” Palihapitiya thinks that all nations should work towards a countermeasure for it.
The statements made by both the personalities were so similar that if they spoke in unison, one wouldn’t be able to notice that they were two individuals speaking at different times for different reasons. Palihapitiya, mainly, spoke about how he feels terrible about the role he played when he was working with Facebook. “I feel tremendous guilt. I think we all knew in the back of our minds – even though, we invented this whole line of, like, there probably aren’t any bad unintended consequences. I think in the back, deep, deep recesses of, we knew something bad could happen. But I think the way we defined it, was not like this.”
According to a report by Gizmodo, Palihapitiya went on to reveal that he does not use social media anymore. He “innately didn’t want to get programmed,” Palihapitiya added. He said that even his kids are not allowed to use “this shit.” He finally concluded by saying,“Your behaviors—you don’t realize it, but you are being programmed. It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you are willing to give up, how much of your intellectual independence.”
“And don’t think, ‘Oh yeah, not me, I’m fucking genius, I’m at Stanford.’ You’re probably the most likely to fucking fall for it. ‘Cause you are fucking check-boxing your whole Goddamn life.”
Social media and Facebook, in particular, is expanding at a fast pace. Newer features that get consumers glued to the platform are being added each passing day. The usage is higher than ever before. One wonders what Mark Zuckerberg has to say about this?