A former top executive for Facebook is opening up about his remorse over what the company has become today. He warns of the dangers that he sees coming from the social media platform and offers up a horrific example of what rumors are responsible for. The Facebook alum expresses deep regret over his involvement in Facebook ripping society apart.
Last month, Sean Parker, former president of Facebook, brought his fears to the public about the effect Facebook is having on the brains of our kids. This week, more disturbing aspects of what Facebook is doing to society as a whole has been brought to the public's attention by Chamath Palihapitiya, who was Facebook's former head of growth, according to Fortune Magazine.
Palihapitiya describes Facebook by saying, "If you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you." His fears today leave him with "tremendous guilt" over what Facebook has done to society.
Facebook is a platform leaving its users feeling empty and needing another hit, which will give them that "fake, brittle popularity" that Facebook leaves you craving. He calls it a "vicious circle" of Facebook users sharing posts created just to gain people's approval.
"We have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are," said Palihapitiya.
His remarks, which were made last month, have just come into the public light this week.
The former top exec also said, "Even though we feigned this whole line of, like, 'There probably aren't any really bad unintended consequences,' I think in the back, deep, deep recesses of our minds, we kind of knew something bad could happen."
One very tragic example given by Palihapitiya when talking about the use of Facebook to spread rumors was an incident that came out of India. He cites the killing of seven people in India that started with rumors spread by WhatsApp.
BGR India reports that while rumors and fake messages are passed along via social media, this rumor had dire consequences. Four people were visiting a village, and a rumor emerged flagging them as child abductors. This prompted the locals to kill them to keep their children safe. A grandmother and two others visiting another village were also killed.
Palihapitiya said to an audience last month, "If you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you. If you push back on it, we have a chance to control it and rein it in. It is a point in time where people need a hard break from some of these tools and the things that you rely on."
He added, "The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, [but] misinformation, mistruth."
Palihapitiya, who is the CEO of Social Capitol today, has taken his own experience very seriously, and he has done something about it for himself and his family.
"My solution is I just don't use these tools anymore. I haven't for years. It's created huge tension with my friends…I guess I kind of innately didn't want to get programmed."
He also doesn't allow his children to use social media.