Sean Parker on Facebook: We created a monster

Nov 12, 2017, 02:05
Sean Parker on Facebook: We created a monster

Parker said that he now sees himself as "something of a conscientious objector" to social media, despite the fact that he owes most of his massive $2.4 billion fortune to his involvement with Facebook.

A like or a comment on a post sends users "a little dopamine hit", he said, encouraging them to post again. "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".

Parker added that the social networks' creators, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram's Kevin Systrom, "consciously" understood the implications of trying to keep users hooked on their products. Parker saw the site's potential and was, according to Zuckerberg, "pivotal in helping Facebook transform from a college project into a real company".

"And that's going to get you to contribute more content, and that's going to get you... more likes and comments".

Parker claimed that with the development of Facebook and other platforms, "the thought process was all about how to we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible". It's not the first time a tech entrepreneur has disavowed something they've created or been involved with - Programmer Ethan Zuckerman famously penned an apology letter for unleashing pop-up ads into the world several years ago.

Although Facebook is a social networking site, it also has vast impact as an advertising platform and news distributor, reaching 2 billion people each month.

"It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other", he said in an interview published Wednesday night by Axios. It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. As Facebook's founding president, he helped fund and guide Mark Zuckerberg as he grew his dorm room startup into a globe-striding behemoth. "I value presence. I value intimacy.' And I would say...'We'll get you eventually'".

"God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains", Parker said in an Axios interview published Thursday, Nov. 9. Now the founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Parker was there to speak about advances in cancer therapies. Yet "we did it anyway".

"But it's less about Facebook, less about any one platform, and it's more about understanding what people are doing with these platforms, what kids are doing. Perhaps it's just wistful thinking on my part, but it seems to me that it's Zuckerberg who should be anxious that more and more people might start carrying out this blocking all on their own", he commented on his blog.

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