Friday, November 10, 2017
Sean Parker on FACEBOOK: We CREATED a MONSTER
Sean Parker, who played a pivotal role in turning Facebook into a money-minting juggernaut, admits that he is now “something of a conscientious objector” to the social networking giant.
Facebook “literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” Parker told Axios in a Wednesday interview. “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
The 38-year-old tech tycoon — whose hardball exploits as Facebook’s first president were depicted in Aaron Sorkin’s 2010 Hollywood flick “The Social Network” — said Facebook is designed to exploit “a vulnerability in human psychology” to get its users addicted.
“The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously,” he said. “And we did it anyway.”
Parker, who is now founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, explained that Facebook uses likes and shares to create a “social-validation feedback loop” that keeps users coming back.
“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,” Parker said. “And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”
Parker said he never anticipated the consequences of what would happen when Facebook grew to have 2 billion monthly users.
In its first few years, Parker said, people would tell him they didn’t use social media, and he would assure them that they would join the fold sooner or later.
“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?’” he said.