Sean Parker says Facebook exploits a vulnerability in human psychology

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,593   +124
Staff member

Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and the founding president of Facebook, is now speaking out against the potential dangers of social media.

During a recent Axios event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Parker recounted how he used to tell holdouts that they would eventually get reeled into social media. He conceded that he didn’t know if he really understood the consequences of what he was saying due to the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to have billions of users.

It literally changes your relationship with society and with each other, he said, noting that it probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” he added.

Parker also said the thought process that went into building Facebook was about trying to figure out how to consume as much of a user’s time and conscious attention as possible.

To get there, Parker notes that they needed to give users “a little dopamine hit every once in a while” in the form of a Like. This, in turn, will get people to contribute more content, generate more Likes and comments (and so on). It’s something the creators of Facebook understood consciously, he said, but did it anyway.

Do you agree with Parker’s stance? Do you think social media has changed society? If so, is it a good or bad change?

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Posts: 2,338   +915
That was the lead on Tucker Carlson tonight. If tobacco knew their product was harmful yet put it out there anyhow...What's the difference? The computer, smart phone, etc can and will turn brains to mush. But I don't care too much 10 hours a day of anything does that.
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Reactions: psycros


Posts: 3,200   +3,398
From personal experience I can say without hesitation that Facebook and its repugnant fellows are among the primary banes of modern life. Anyone who says different instantly loses respect in my eyes. I cannot wait till people tire of social media..its turned so many people into weird caricatures of themselves. It actually makes me a little ill when people say they have boring lives or nothing to hide, and thus the idea that every weirdo on Earth is reading about their private life doesn't bother them.
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Reactions: Nobina


Posts: 160   +168
People are dying for a like or two. This is true. It probably shows how much people need to feel accepted. And the internet gives them this chance. Not just Facebook, any forum or message board. It will also explain why people will keep a flame war with someone unknown on the internet for hours or even days. It's the opposite of a like.
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Reactions: senketsu


Posts: 353   +110
Social media is an addictive drug for the masses, a socially acceptable one, and as such destroys many lives. It has turned our society into a joke, one in which you're just as likely to be killed by some housewife texting while driving, as by some junkie robbing you. The last sane people left are members of isolated tribes who have never seen a "smart phone" or the internet, and a few older folks who avoid it like the plague. And coincidentally, me, because I have never used social media, although I do post on a couple of hardware forums like this one - so my sanity is also suspect...
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Reactions: senketsu


I care less for the poor schmucks that choose to spend their time absorbed by social media (phone) than I do for the people they affect.
I had a conversation with a city Transit employee. He said they are having a hard time finding people to run the Light Rail Transit. The reason are the near misses and fatalities because people are paying too much attention to their phone. When they kill someone, they are cleared, but it has a big effect on them. Same for the poor driver when some fool walks straight out into busy streets eyes glued to the phone.
Then there are the pedestrians and cyclists getting killed due to distracted driving. I was reading about the death of the pro cyclist Michele Scarponi, dead at 37 leaving behind a wife and two boys. Hit and killed by a driver on his phone. He might be high profile, but this is happening to many, many people.


Maybe we'll need the self-driving car so we can enable all the people that can't take their eyes off of their phones.