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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday November 12 2017, @10:06AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the write-a-strongly-worded-letter dept.

Both takyon and Phoenix666 bring us news of some harsh words that ex-Facebook president Sean Parker has for the company:

Ex-Facebook President Sean Parker Criticizes Facebook

Facebook's first President has sharply criticized the behemoth he helped shape:

Sean Parker, Facebook's first president, had some harsh words about the social network during an interview this week. The tech investor, also a co-founder of Napster and, perhaps most recognizably, the guy played by Justin Timberlake in "The Social Network," said Facebook was designed to exploit the way people fundamentally think and behave.

There have been "unintended consequences," Parker said, now that Facebook has grown to include 2 billion people -- two out of every seven people on the planet. "It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other," he said in published Wednesday night by Axios. "It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."

[...] Parker on Wednesday drilled into the addictive nature of Facebook that keeps so many of us coming back. He said it's all by design, because receiving a "like" or a comment on your post gives you a little hit of dopamine. "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."

But that didn't matter to people like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, he said. Or Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram, which Facebook owns. Or even himself. In addition to co-founding Napster in 1999, he started Airtime, a video social network that never gained traction. Now he's the founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

"The inventors, creators ... understood this consciously," he said. "And we did it anyway."

Also at The Verge and Business Insider.

Facebook Founding President Sounds Alarm

Even Facebook doesn't like Facebook?

"God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."

A view on social media shared not by some uninformed luddite, but by one of the people responsible for building Facebook into the social media titan it is today.

Sean Parker, Facebook's founding president, unloaded his worries and criticisms of the network, saying he had no idea what he was doing at the time of its creation.

Speaking on stage to Mike Allen from Axios, Mr Parker said: "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?'"

"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.


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

Related Stories

Another Former Facebook Exec Speaks Out 39 comments

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former vice president for user growth at Facebook, feels (some) guilt about his role in expanding the social media giant:

Palihapitiya's criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. "The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we've created are destroying how society works," he said, referring to online interactions driven by "hearts, likes, thumbs-up." "No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it's not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem."

He went on to describe an incident in India where hoax messages about kidnappings shared on WhatsApp led to the lynching of seven innocent people. "That's what we're dealing with," said Palihapitiya. "And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It's just a really, really bad state of affairs." He says he tries to use Facebook as little as possible, and that his children "aren't allowed to use that shit." He later adds, though, that he believes the company "overwhelmingly does good in the world."

[...] In his talk, Palihapitiya criticized not only Facebook, but Silicon Valley's entire system of venture capital funding. He said that investors pump money into "shitty, useless, idiotic companies," rather than addressing real problems like climate change and disease. Palihapitiya currently runs his own VC firm, Social Capital, which focuses on funding companies in sectors like healthcare and education.

From a partial transcript:

You don't realize it, but you are being programmed. It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you're willing to give up. How much of your intellectual independence, and don't think, yeah, not me, I'm a genius, I'm at Stanford. You're probably the most likely to fall for it. Because you are check-boxing your whole damn life. No offense, guys.

Previously: Facebook Founding President Sounds Alarm, Criticizes Facebook


Original Submission

Silicon Valley Technologists Form Group to Fight Tech Addiction 27 comments

Silicon Valley technologists, including former Google and Facebook employees, have formed the Center for Humane Technology:

A group of Silicon Valley technologists who were early employees at Facebook and Google, alarmed over the ill effects of social networks and smartphones, are banding together to challenge the companies they helped build.

The cohort is creating a union of concerned experts called the Center for Humane Technology. Along with the nonprofit media watchdog group Common Sense Media, it also plans an anti-tech addiction lobbying effort and an ad campaign at 55,000 public schools in the United States.

The campaign, titled The Truth About Tech, will be funded with $7 million from Common Sense and capital raised by the Center for Humane Technology. Common Sense also has $50 million in donated media and airtime from partners including Comcast and DirecTV. It will be aimed at educating students, parents and teachers about the dangers of technology, including the depression that can come from heavy use of social media.

"We were on the inside," said Tristan Harris, a former in-house ethicist at Google who is heading the new group. "We know what the companies measure. We know how they talk, and we know how the engineering works."

Omidyar Network is listed as a key advisor/supporter.

Also at TIME.

Related: How Facebook Can Be Addictive
Facebook Founding President Sounds Alarm, Criticizes Facebook
Another Former Facebook Exec Speaks Out
FBI Whistleblower on Pierre Omidyar and His Campaign to Neuter Wikileaks


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Sunday November 12 2017, @10:45AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 12 2017, @10:45AM (#595873) Homepage Journal

    While still in college, Zuckerberg expressed his contempt for the damned fools who trust him with information. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mark_Zuckerberg [wikiquote.org]

    2004

            Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
            Zuck: Just ask
            Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
            [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
            Zuck: People just submitted it.
            Zuck: I don't know why.
            Zuck: They "trust me"
            Zuck: Dumb fucks

    --
    Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:02AM (13 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:02AM (#595878)

    summary 1: "The inventors, creators ... understood this consciously," he said. "And we did it anyway."

    summary 2: Sean Parker [says] he had no idea what he was doing at the time of its creation.

    Anyways stay away from the evil machine, ditto others like it, e.g. the goog monster.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by IndigoFreak on Sunday November 12 2017, @02:03PM (12 children)

      by IndigoFreak (3415) on Sunday November 12 2017, @02:03PM (#595897)

      Facebook isn't the same platform it was at the time of its creation. They went from a couple people developing a website to thousands of people. They have had plenty of time to go back and iterate on the initial design. Maybe at first it was accidental. But now making people get a hit of dopamine. They want people addicted and they are doing everything they know in order to make it happen.

      But maybe I'm blinded by my own bias and this guy is a gas bag, playing both sides. I just believe that this wave of technology is more sinister than anything humans have had wide spread access to in the past. Thousands of apps that actively try to make you addicted. Even TV pales in comparison in how addictive it can be. And many people give these games and videos to their children. With consequences we don't fully understand yet. This isn't the same as books, radio, or tv. We have taken the lessons from all of that and created a new beast. People have combined marketing, neuroscience, and psychology in an attempt to create the perfect trap. And if you walk around without looking at your phone, you will see just how many people are trapped.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Gaaark on Sunday November 12 2017, @04:48PM (7 children)

        by Gaaark (41) on Sunday November 12 2017, @04:48PM (#595923) Journal

        "And if you walk around without looking at your phone, you will see just how many people are trapped."

        My wife and I don't have cell phones: it always amazes me how many guys miss the really hot girl walking by because they've got their noses stuck in the damn phone! (When I was young, that was one of the great pleasures in life: standing on the corner, watching all the girls go by.) My wife can't believe the people in restaurants who don't talk to each other because they're on their phones.

        Look up and see the beauty around you, people!
        (DISCLAIMER: by really hot girl, I mean all the nerdy, nerdy girls.)

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by AthanasiusKircher on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:28PM (2 children)

          by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:28PM (#595960) Journal

          Look up and see the beauty around you, people!

          This sort of reminds me of a pre-Facebook-era anecdote: I remember going to the Vatican museums and walking behind a few American families who were navigating the entire museums while holding up a camcorder and recording. They rarely stopped to notice anything -- one family member might be trying to point out something interesting, but the camera-holder would be bumping into other people and trying to "capture the experience"... rather than actually having an experience.

          At least then the view was still focused on stuff around them. Now, you go to, say, a fine dining restaurant, and you see people taking pictures of their meals with their phones. Okay -- sometimes presentation is cool and even artistic, so take a picture of your dinner if you want. But then, they'll spend several minutes posting that photo on Facebook (or other social media), then checking in every minute to see who "liked" their photo or commented on it. Meanwhile, their $100+ meal is almost the secondary concern... it's not, "Wow! I'm eating a really awesome dinner!" Instead, it's more like, "I gotta show everyone how awesome I am by posting pictures and comments about my food!" Meals used to be social gatherings too, chances to connect through conversation... not anymore for many.

          It's also becoming increasingly difficult to be the person who isn't "always connected." I refuse to participate in Facebook or any other social media; thus I end up left out of a lot of stuff going on with people I know. But perhaps it's for the best, as most of the relationships I care the most about are with people who I can still contact outside of social media. Let the addicts spend their lives getting the "hit" from their "likes"...

          For me, I don't give a crap. Honestly. What the hell do I need validation from a bunch of people I barely know? I don't even give a crap if you mod me down here. I'm just sayin' stuff... you like it? Fine. If you don't, leave a criticism or counterargument if you want. Otherwise, I don't care.

          I guess Facebook is really beginning to show how narcissistic most people are, or maybe insecure and needing external validation for their mundane everyday activities and thoughts. The people I admire most are independent thinkers, and the vast majority of them are not active on platforms like Facebook.

          I would go so far as to say that inability to disconnect from Facebook and your phone would be a deal-breaker in a relationship for me. Studies have shown the value of "being bored" or just sitting and thinking -- if you can't sit and be alone with your thoughts for an hour without your phone, you're probably not going to be as interesting a person to me.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:31PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:31PM (#595963)

            Eh I don't think it is always narcissism. Humans are social, we like to share our experiences. People who find something amazing don't often share it in order to say "how awesome am I??" Some do, but those can be ignored easily enough.

            • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday November 12 2017, @07:36PM

              by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 12 2017, @07:36PM (#595978) Journal

              Eh I don't think it is always narcissism. Humans are social, we like to share our experiences.

              Sharing our experiences IS at heart, narcissism. That you can't see this just shows how taken in by the whole phenomenon you are. It is invariable a form of look at me, see what I do.

              You like to share your experiences, because it builds you up.
              You could care less about Aunt Marge and her best of show at the March of Roses competition. Stupid Marge and her boring Roses.

              You tolerate Marge, because you're so insecure in the world you need someone to validate your existence, so you call it sharing and pretend it is a big happy give and take. But mostly you're in it for the take.

              --
              No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by turgid on Sunday November 12 2017, @07:41PM (1 child)

          by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 12 2017, @07:41PM (#595980) Journal
          • (Score: 5, Funny) by Gaaark on Sunday November 12 2017, @10:05PM

            by Gaaark (41) on Sunday November 12 2017, @10:05PM (#596007) Journal

            Wrong; I'm a nerdy, nerdy old man who was too nerdy/autistic to realise it until he was old, lol. Too nerdy/autistic to talk to females; my wife had to teach me how, although she still wishes I'd talk more.

            I'm not dirty, I just look that way. ;)

            --
            --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13 2017, @12:36AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13 2017, @12:36AM (#596022)

          it always amazes me how many guys miss the really hot girl walking by

          STARE RAPE! I hope you lose your job and career for your unabashed sexual harassment!

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Monday November 13 2017, @01:40AM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday November 13 2017, @01:40AM (#596035)

          My wife and I don't have cell phones: it always amazes me how many guys miss the really hot girl walking by because they've got their noses stuck in the damn phone! (When I was young, that was one of the great pleasures in life: standing on the corner, watching all the girls go by.)

          I don't see the problem. What exactly are these guys missing? The chance to be reminded about how they'll never get to date one of those hit girls? They're doing the rational thing: finding something else to absorb their attention so they don't get distracted by pretty things they can't ever have, and helping to avoid depression.

          Plus, it's not like anyone ever meets dating partners that way anyway (that's considered creepy, to hit on people walking by you). Instead, people are turning to online dating apps like Tinder to find dating partners that actually are interested in them, which is far more efficient and also considerate than hitting on women on the street who have no interest in you. This is probably what some fraction of these guys are doing with their phones as they ignore the hot girls walking by.

          I entirely agree with this Parker guy about Facebook, but there's a lot more to using a smartphone than FB. I don't even have FB on my phone.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday November 12 2017, @04:57PM (3 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 12 2017, @04:57PM (#595926) Journal

        I just believe that this wave of technology is more sinister than anything humans have had wide spread access to in the past.

        I can think of a couple of counterexamples: informer networks (that is, systems which maintain people who routinely inform on law abiding people in their vicinity) like the stuff your basic police state would run and TV.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jmorris on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:59PM (2 children)

          by jmorris (4844) on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:59PM (#596016)

          If you wanted to "round up a million or two" of the worst troublemakers, whatever faction you might imagine seizing power and wanting to "round up a few million", would any possible informer network be worth more than a day of unfettered access to Facebook's network with a few brainiacs who understand big data?

          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday November 13 2017, @04:33AM (1 child)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 13 2017, @04:33AM (#596066) Journal

            If you wanted to "round up a million or two" of the worst troublemakers

            If you have the power to round up a million or two, you don't need to care that much about the quality of the data. You're just making an example, you don't really care aside from the most dangerous of the lot whether there are troublemakers in there or not.

            The point of the informer network is to create a pervasive climate of fear that you can't escape because your neighbors and family may report you. Actually catching troublemakers is useful, but secondary. Meanwhile, Facebook only reveals what you choose to reveal. In a police state, everyone would stop using Facebook right away except for innocuous stuff. It's great for the initial proscription list, but everyone will get wise instantly to its potential.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13 2017, @05:35AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13 2017, @05:35AM (#596076)

              And by then it will be all too late.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:12AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:12AM (#595882)

    Hey, did you hear that Facebook's first president criticized Facebook with some harsh words?

    Facebook Founding President Sounds Alarm, Criticizes Facebook
    -----
    Both takyon and Phoenix666 bring us news of some harsh words that ex-Facebook president Sean Parker has for the company:

    Ex-Facebook President Sean Parker Criticizes Facebook

    takyon writes:

    Facebook's first President has sharply criticized the behemoth he helped shape:

    Sean Parker, Facebook's first president, had some harsh words about the social network during an interview this week.

    :P

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:59AM (3 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:59AM (#595883)

    Like a parasite that modifies the behavior of its hosts in order to sustain its life cycle, Facebook wouldn't exist if it didn't "manipulate" people into using it somehow.

    Strange connection: I'm reminded of the "Gas, Grass or Ass, nobody rides for free" bumper-stickers. So, Facebook is giving a dopamine push, and that's why so many people give it their time and attention.

    --
    Україна не входить до складу Росії.
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday November 12 2017, @05:00PM (2 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday November 12 2017, @05:00PM (#595927) Homepage

      Speaking of gas, ZuckerJew could most certainly use a good gassin' and a bake in ein ofen.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:38PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:38PM (#595964)

        I just couldn't come up with a response that condemns your shitty genocidal trolling while approving the downfall of the even bigger troll zuckerberg. I hope he has nightmares to rival your own :P

        Oh! I did it!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13 2017, @03:58AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 13 2017, @03:58AM (#596054)

          well done!

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Yaa101 on Sunday November 12 2017, @12:57PM (2 children)

    by Yaa101 (4091) on Sunday November 12 2017, @12:57PM (#595887)

    ...giving your money back to the world Sean?

    --
    No comment...
    • (Score: 3, Touché) by c0lo on Sunday November 12 2017, @01:11PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 12 2017, @01:11PM (#595889) Journal

      How about... giving your money back to the world Sean?

      Naaah, those were money capitalistically (thus honestly) earned.
      Problem is, no more money from that direction; so Sean needs to go opposite, maybe there's a chance for a book or something.
      Even better if the book contain some truth in it, there'll be some useful idiots who will make noise around.

      (cynical grin)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Geezer on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:25PM

      by Geezer (511) on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:25PM (#595958)

      Does the Parker immunotherapy institute count?

  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday November 12 2017, @02:09PM (4 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Sunday November 12 2017, @02:09PM (#595898) Journal

    "God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains."

    Last I heard, kids weren't using Facebook: only old people. Kids had moved on to {flavour of the day}.

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @02:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @02:16PM (#595899)

      Yeah, but {flavour of the day} requires that you log in with Facebook.

    • (Score: 2) by Spamalope on Sunday November 12 2017, @03:42PM

      by Spamalope (5233) on Sunday November 12 2017, @03:42PM (#595914) Homepage

      How many of the flavors of the day vying to be the kids 'new thing' are actually Facebook making sure there is no air supply for new competitors? Especially the ones requiring a facebook login?

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:11PM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 12 2017, @06:11PM (#595951) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, I read that somewhere, too. But, all the kids I know have Facefook. Possibly, the kids USE Facefook less, but they've got it. From their point of view, it's nice to have if/when they want to check up on Mom and Dad, or they want to prepare an excuse for coming home late, or whatever. But, of course, the kids are going to have other channels of communication for the important stuff, like getting laid.

      --
      Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
      • (Score: 2) by tibman on Sunday November 12 2017, @08:11PM

        by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 12 2017, @08:11PM (#595985)

        They have FB the way working adults have linkedin.

        --
        SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by stretch611 on Sunday November 12 2017, @02:27PM (4 children)

    by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 12 2017, @02:27PM (#595900)

    He said it's all by design, because receiving a "like" or a comment on your post gives you a little hit of dopamine. "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."

    Now mark me as insightful so that I can get high.

    --
    Vaccinated, boosted (twice), and still expecting to be asked to roll up my sleeve again in the fall
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @04:31PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12 2017, @04:31PM (#595920)

    No mention of privacy at all? Facebook is a monstrous surveillance engine that violates not only the privacy of the foolish people it uses (so-called "users") but even the privacy of people who don't use the service at all in cases where someone uploads a photo of them. Facebook builds shadow profiles of people who do not have accounts there. It uses facial recognition on photos. I don't see why privacy doesn't even get a mention, seeing as it's the main issue with Facebook.

    • (Score: 2) by cykros on Monday November 13 2017, @06:03PM

      by cykros (989) on Monday November 13 2017, @06:03PM (#596342)

      The only reason privacy is an issue with Facebook is because people use Facebook and continue to give it information, both theirs, and that of other people. And they do this for the dopamine rush.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday November 12 2017, @08:11PM

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday November 12 2017, @08:11PM (#595986)

    I have a pretty good idea what Facebook is doing to my children's brains: nothing.

    I don't know if my boys are typical late teens, but they almost never use Facebook at all. My older boy told me the last time he posted anything was to organise a bunch of his mates to go to a concert together.

    Other than that he rarely checks it and posts nothing of note.

    Maybe we've reached peak Facebook.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:09PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:09PM (#596011) Homepage Journal

    Many of my friends and relatives don't understand email

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:12PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday November 12 2017, @11:12PM (#596012) Homepage Journal

    -- hn user

    "Not anymore." -- Jacques Clouseau

    --
    Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
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