Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with 'dopamine-driven feedback loops'

Facebook is going through a period when the world is using this simple ‘friendly-neighbourhood’ platform as a tool to spread violence and hatred

Facebook is going through a period when the world is using this simple ‘friendly-neighbourhood’ platform as a tool to spread violence and hatred

Chamath Palihapitiya, whose LinkedIn page says he was Facebook's vice president of user growth for mobile and global, said in an interview at the Stanford Graduate School of Business that social media is eroding civil society around the world.

He worked as the vice president of user growth at Facebook and is now admitting that he feels "tremendous guilt" about his role in helping Facebook attract 2 billion users.

"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 back deep, deep recesses of our minds, we kind of knew something bad could happen", said Chamath.

"I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works", Palihapitiya said at the Stanford event. "The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we've created are destroying how society works".

Social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has defended itself against accusations from a former executive that the site is "destroying how society works".

Chamath joined Facebook in 2007 and left in 2011.

"When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world", the statement said. "He added, "[There's] no civil discourse, no cooperation; [only] misinformation, mistruth.

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Palihapitiya, who founded venture capital firm Social Capital, went on CNBC to talk about his comments, emphasizing that he was speaking about social media in general-although in his initial remarks he is clearly talking about his own involvement and thus Facebook's-in creating damaging social media dynamics. The tech giant, along with rivals Twitter and Google, testified before Congress last month about the impact of social networks on last year's U.S. presidential election, and how Russian agents leveraged social media to divide Americans.

Facebook is also under pressure over posts disseminated by Russian-linked agents that have been accused of influencing the USA presidential election past year.

Palihapitiya then advised everyone to take a break away from the clutches of social media, as the technology is negatively affecting society and relationships between people.

Former Facebook President Sean Parker told Axios in November that he believes social networking is changing the way humans relate to one another and is doing great damage in its ever-expanding wake.

"Your behaviors - you don't realize it but you are being programmed", he added.

Palihapitiya said his kids "aren't allowed to use that shit". "It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you're willing to give up, how much of your intellectual independence".

That appeared to be a reference not only to "fake news" that's flooding feeds in the United States, but also recent reports of dictatorial regimes in the Philippines, Turkey and Kenya using Facebook to target political dissenters.

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