Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, accused the social media giant of exploiting human “vulnerability” using psychology, warning “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” Axios reported.
Speaking to the news publication, the billionaire entrepreneur and current executive talked about what he perceived the dangers of social media are and how it manipulates human psychology. Parker joined Facebook in 2004, when it was less than a year old and was also the former founder of Napster.
He is additionally the current founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.
The shocking comments were made during an Axios event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, about accelerating cancer innovation where he was there to speak on behalf of his institute.
“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’” Parker said.
“And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever,” he told Axios. “And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”
Parker added: “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.”
“The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark Zuckerberg, it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously,” he said. “And we did it anyway.”
After leaving the stage, according to Axios, Parker joked that Mark Zuckerberg would probably block his account after reading this in the news.
This is also not the first time Facebook has been outed for manipulating perception. In 2014 they were exposed for blatantly targeting human emotions in an experiment without their users’ knowledge:
…Facebook revealed that it had manipulated the news feeds of over half a million randomly selected users to change the number of positive and negative posts they saw. It was part of a psychological study to examine how emotions can be spread on social media. (Source)
Besides being a social validation feedback loop, Facebook has demonstrated itself to be an echo chamber by labeling people under political labels as the New York Times reported.
The big social giant also hired a full list of liberal left-leaning fact checkers and has begun limiting the reach of sites like Activist Post; labeling alternative media, opinions, and editorials as “fake news.”
In fact, other former Facebook employees have confessed to the abhorrent censorship of conservative news and views. The nail in the coffin was actually placed in 2015 when Facebook admitted that they were censoring posts and comments about political corruption and content that some countries like Turkey and China don’t feel is appropriate for their citizens. Facebook is not new to censorship, and this will likely continue.
The main problem we all worry about is that Facebook is creating a political bubble for people where they will only hear one-sided politics leaving no room for healthy debates. This is doing a disservice to its users and is the real reason that Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency that has nothing to do with fake news. On one hand it prevents bickering, on another it blocks someone from expanding their consciousness by examining and challenging one’s own beliefs.