The U.S. elections which were conducted in November 2016 saw a steep rise in the matters that had Russia meddling in. The surge in “fake news” too was another such internet trend. See closely and you’ll want to rethink the role of social media network in our lives.
Various books, articles, satirists, and comics, have in some way tried to bring about the awareness about the same, but it’s only when Sean Parker pointed it out that people sat up straight to pay heed.
Parker, the first president of Facebook, criticized Facebook for one of the many already-known reasons, during a conference this week. During a talk, Sean was heard saying that Facebook too, like other social media networking sites preyed on people’s psychological vulnerabilities.
According to Axios, "God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains," was what Parker said.
He added humor to the serious-toned talk by saying that his comment would have him chucked out of Facebook.
"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 added.
"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. And that's going to get you to contribute more content, and that's going to get you ... more likes and comments," Sean said.
Sean went on to describe Facebook as "a social-validation feedback loop" that is "exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with," because it takes advantage of people’s psychological vulnerability.
Before Facebook, Parker started out by co-founding Napster. He eventually teamed up with Mark Zuckerberg to set up Facebook. However, the former’s stint with Facebook was short lived and he was asked to resign in 2006 after the police busted him of cocaine possession.
The business model of Facebook and other social media websites have come under fire for promoting extreme behavior, by creating echo chambers in which ideas spread without being contested, and by rewarding controversial ideas with greater exposure.
Parker’s comment could be in the wake of techies feeling a pang, for their conscience has started eating them. Former Google employee Tristan Harris opened up about how tech companies captivate the mind of the users, in an eye-opening post last year.
He wrote how product designers "play your psychological vulnerabilities (consciously and unconsciously) against you in the race to grab your attention."
Like magicians, social media apps "give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose," he wrote.
Information source: huffingtonpost
Title image source: hollywoodreporter