A FORMER CHAIRMAN of Facebook has expressed concerns at the way that the social network and its ilk are changing our brains.
Sean Parker, who has now quit social media, describing himself as a ‘conscientious objector', warning that the very purpose of Facebook was to monopolise as much time as possible.
Speaking at an Axios event in Philadelphia he explained,
"When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, 'I'm not on social media.' And I would say, 'OK. You know, you will be.' And then they would say, 'No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.' And I would say, ... 'We'll get you eventually.'"
He warned that Facebook understands the psychology of what it is doing, right down to the idea of the "dopamine hit" created by getting Likes, but he says, "we did it anyway".
"I don't know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and ... it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other ... It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."
Parker, who now heads up a research facility into Cancer Immunotherapy, has left social media behind, but speaks with the "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" quote from the Bhagavad-Gitathat. It's the one Oppenheimer used after seeing what his atomic bomb research from the Manhattan Project could do. And we all know how that turned out.
Facebook hasn't responded, but we suspect that there's a good chance that co-consipirator Mark Zuckerberg won't take to it very kindly.
The company has long been accused of researching psychology using the live feed. Most recently it included a series of stories marked as "Fake News" to see how people reacted to them. It did not go well. µ
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