Facebook’s first president Sean Parker unleashed his ire on social media in a shocking interview with Axios. In the candid interview, the Napster co-founder revealed that the popular social network was meant to be addictive.
Parker was giving a speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia about his work as the founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy when he opened up about his time with Facebook. He revealed that he’s become “something of a conscientious objector” on social media.
“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” Parker bluntly said when talking about social media.
Parker admitted that he, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, and others knew that they were making social media addictive and decided to keep doing it anyway. And that could be potentially harmful to our brains.
When they started creating Facebook, the goal was to get everyone to join their social network and to “consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible.” To those who said they would never join and enjoyed their real-life interactions more, Parker had simply replied, “We’ll get you eventually.”
So how do they get people to spend all their time and attention on social media? Users get a little hit of dopamine every time they get a like or a comment, so they start posting more and more content to get those likes and comments. Soon, it becomes an addiction, or a “social-validation feedback loop,” as Parker called it.
Parker admitted that he didn’t really understand the full scope of what they were doing with Facebook at first. But once the social network had grown to billions of people, it started to change the way people interacted with each other, their relationship to society, and their productivity.
Now Parker’s voicing his objections to social media loud and clear and is slamming the way it’s “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”
Following his frank interview about the problems with social media, Parker joked that Zuckerberg will probably block him for his comments.
Parker, of course, first became well known for co-founding Napster. He joined Facebook in 2004 and became the social network’s first president. After he was arrested (but not charged) for suspicion of drug possession in 2005, Parker was pressured to resign, but still worked with Facebook and Zuckerberg.
Parker went on to work with other apps like Spotify, founded the Parker Foundation, and more.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Facebook and social media have come under criticism. Many have argued that social media is too addictive. And just recently, Facebook and other social media apps have been criticized for their part in the 2016 election.
[Featured Image by Michael Buckner/Getty Images]