Former Facebook President Says Social Media Is 'Exploiting' Human Psychology

Former Facebook President Says Social Media Is 'Exploiting' Human Psychology

A co-founder of Facebook bashed the company during an interview, saying that the social network was built to exploit vulnerabilities in human psychology.

During a recent Axios event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Parker recounted how he used to tell holdouts that they would eventually get reeled into social media.

There have been "unintended consequences", Parker said, now that Facebook has grown to include 2 billion people - two out of every seven people on the planet.

"[Facebook] literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains", said Parker.

"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?'" Parker told Axios in an interview. The company achieved this by adding the "like" button or letting people comment on posts or pictures, with Parker calling these "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".

"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".

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All people crave is appreciation and fame, and that's what social networks have given to the netizens.

With each like and comment, Facebook is "exploiting" human psychology on objective to keep users hooked on a "social-validation feedback loop", Parker said, adding that it is "exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with".

Mr Parker became Facebook's first president after making hundreds of millions of dollars from the music-sharing service Napster.

Parker also joked that his comments would probably prompt Mark Zuckerberg to block him on Facebook.

"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".

Parker, the 37-year-old founder of Napster, focuses a lot of his time nowadays running his eponymous Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. The comments are a little ironic given the billions Parker has made from being an early investor in Facebook. "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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