Former Facebook President Admits It's 'Exploiting A Vulnerability In Human Psychology'

Cesar Mills
November 12, 2017

Parker, 38, spoke Wednesday at an Axios event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and while he was officially there to talk about efforts to advance cancer innovation, he apparently went off-script as he began to speak about his status as "something of a conscientious objector" to social media.

But Parker was unaware of the consequences of their social network which would burst into a community of 2 billion users and change the society in ways we can't imagine. "It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways", said Parker.

"God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains", he continued, pointing to a recent surge in anxiety "amongst high school kids and younger".

He then delivered an intriguing glimpse of how the company was designed with one goal in mind: "How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?" This, in turn, will get people to contribute more content, generate more Likes and comments (and so on).

Parker added that the social networks' creators, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram's Kevin Systrom, "consciously" understood the implications of trying to keep users hooked on their products.

Parker discussed the number of people that were against social media when Facebook first started, telling Parker that they'd never join the online world as they valued intimacy and living in the moment.

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If you've followed Facebook closely from the beginning (or have watched The Social Network), you'll be familiar with the role Sean Parker played in the creation of the company.

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

Parker, the 37-year-old founder of Napster, focuses a lot of his time nowadays running his eponymous Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

But Dr Highfield says it hard to know what impact this is having because "we don't know necessarily how people are using the platforms".

Parker left the stage joking that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would block his account after learning of his comments. And we did it anyway. The comments are a little ironic given the billions Parker has made from being an early investor in Facebook. A 2017 study conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health, a United Kingdom -based health charity, found that people who use platforms such as Facebook and Instagram were more likely to have anxiety, depression and sleep issues. I value my real-life interactions.

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