Break the Habit
Long before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, more and more tech executives (particularly those working for social networks) had been coming forward and speaking out on how technology is negatively impacting society. Two years ago top leadership consultant and coach Simon Sinek shocked the world when he claimed social media use could have more devastating effects than smoking and drinking alcohol, and that the use of social platforms had negatively affected a whole generation because they remained unregulated over the years.
A Former Facebook VP Speaks Out
Adding to the voices, another top tech exec who actually worked for the giant social network Facebook, has come forward and made similar claims. Chamath Palihapitiya joined Facebook back in 2007 and advanced within the ranks until he became the VP for User Growth. He took time to speak out during a one-hour interview about how the social network is causing harm to people and societies around the world. Palihapitiya said he felt “tremendous guilt” in helping build such a company. Watch the video in full here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMotykw0SIk
Palihapitiya also claims Facebook has built tools that are going a long way in ripping apart the basic fabric of society. Speaking at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, he also recommended people to take a break from using social networks. He even stated he’s only updated his Facebook profile twice during the last 7 years. His kids are not even allowed to use it.
Long Term Consequences
Besides criticizing Facebook, Palihapitiya also took shots at the whole 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.”
There are many grave incidences he pointed out due to misuse of social media one of which is the death of seven people in India due to fake news on a WhatsApp message. Of particular concern to the former Facebook executive is how the platform has allowed people with vile intentions to craft messages and easily reach swarms of people in less than a day, something that everyone should be worrying about.
Perhaps it cannot be said any better than Christopher Mims from the Wall Street Journal, “Increased scrutiny of Facebook is healthy. What went mainstream as a friendly place for loved ones to swap baby pictures and cat videos has morphed into an opaque and poorly understood metropolis rife with influence peddlers determined to manipulate what we know and how we think. We have barely begun to understand how the massive social network shapes our world.”
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