A former senior Facebook executive by the name of Chamath Palihapitiya has openly said that he regrets having helped the company grow its user base. He added that social media as a whole is „ripping apart” society and how we perceive it. During his speech at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Palihapitiya stated that he feels guilty for helping Facebook and that he doesn’t allow his children on social media platforms.
In the speech, the former exec did not blame his former employer specifically but criticized the entirety of social media.
„I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric and how society works,” he said.
Palihapitiya joined Facebook in 2007 and quickly became its vice president for user growth. He added that social media addiction and its symptoms are not restricted to a specific country but has affected the world as a whole. According to him, social media platform have boiled down complex human interaction to nothing more than a series of likes, dislikes, and hearts. Overall, he states that social media created a breeding ground for „misinformation and mistruth”.
Palihapitiya then gave several examples of how the digital trend has negatively affected day to day life. One of them was an incident in India where messaging platform, WhatsApp, contributed to the lynching of seven innocent people by spreading hoax message about kidnappings. He says that such events are effective manipulation tactics that can be used by influential people and bad actors alike.
While the former Facebook exec has said he tries to use the platform as little as possible, he did acknowledge the company’s good intentions. However, Palihapitiya does not allow his kids to use Facebook in any way. His criticism echoes another Facebook objector, Sean Parker, who invested in the company in its early days. He says the digital platform exploits human psychology.
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