Facebook's Objectors Are Getting Louder. They Should Know: They Used To Work There
The social media giant's ex-VP has claimed it destroys ‘the social fabric of how society works’.
BY Olivia Ovenden | Dec 14, 2017 | Technology
Chamath Palihapitiya, the former vice-president of user growth at Facebook, has spoken about his “tremendous guilt” over creating “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works” when working at the social media company.
The Verge yesterday reported that the ex-VP, who left the company in 2011, made the comments while speaking at a Stanford Business School event last month.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth,” Palihapitiya argued.
Image by Chamath Palihapitiya
“This is not about Russian ads,” he went on to say. “This is a global problem ... It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”
Palihapitiya also spoke about no longer using the site or allowing his children to. “I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that shit," he said. "I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that shit.”
Last month ex-Facebook president Sean Parker also made damning comments, about the site's lack of social and moral responsibility arguing that from the beginning it exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology”.
“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,” he said.
Zuckerberg himself has said he doesn't use the site and both Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive (Apple's chief design officer) admitted they have strict limitations on how their children are allowed to interact with technology designed to be so addictive.
Adam Alter writes in his cautionary tale on technology, Irresistible: “Walter Isaacson, who ate dinner with the Jobs family while researching his biography of Steve Jobs, told Bilton that, “No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.” It seemed as if the people producing tech products were following the cardinal rule of drug dealing: never get high on your own supply.”
The news is another wave in what has been a tsunami of bad press for the social media giant over the last year. Facebook has recently been forced to admit they sold $100,000 worth of adverts to fake Russian accounts in order to influence the 2016 US election. It is estimated this propaganda reached 126m people in America.
And last month Facebook and Twitter agreed to hand over information to the Commons watchdog committee in order to aid an enquiry into Russian-sponsored pro-Brexit accounts which may have aided the Leave vote during the referendum.
Image by Getty
Add onto that the criticism they have faced over their controversial live function, which has not only hosted streams of suicides, rapes and the murder of an 11-month-old girl but raised ethical concerns about the welfare of employees brought on to monitor this content.
So keen were they to rush ahead with the new function that might keep people on the site longer that initially there was only one moderator for every half a million users.
Needless to say, Mark Zuckerberg's virtual reality tour of hurricane-stricken Puerto Rico to show off their new Spaces feature in October did not soften his image. The stunt was branded tasteless and opportunistic rather than reinventing him as a humanitarian saviour.
Palihapitiya called on people to evaluate their relationship with social media, "You gotta decide how much you’re going to give up," he said. "How much of your intellectual independence.”
Might it be crunch time for Facebook?
From: Esquire UK