Former Facebook exec feels 'tremendous guilt' for what he helped make

12 December, 2017, 09:40 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Former Facebook exec feels 'tremendous guilt' for what he helped make

One of Facebook's earliest executives has said the social network is "destroying how society works" and that he feels "tremendous guilt" about his work.

"I feel tremendous guilt", Palihapitiya told a crowd gathered at Standford Business School, CNBC reported Monday.

He said that investors pump money into "sh***y, useless, idiotic companies", rather than addressing real problems like climate change and disease.

Palihapitiya is the latest Facebook alum to admit regrets about their role building the company.

Sean Parker isn't the only former Facebook executive to have second thoughts about products they've built and the influence they've had on society as a whole.

"I don't know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and... it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other... God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains", Parker told the news site Axios.

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Chamath Palihapitiya, who was vice-president for user growth at Facebook before he left the company in 2011, said: "The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works". This creates a kind of feeding frenzy for social media reactions, that drive people to indulge in a series of tasks in the pursuit of Likes on Facebook, and having only short term, empty achievements to show at the end of it.

According to Palihapitiya, "That's what we're dealing with, and imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion". It is eroding the core foundation of how people behave by and between each other. And I don't have a good solution.

"I just don't use these tools anymore, I haven't for years".

Palihaitiya said that when Facebook was still in its early stages, there were discussions about the sort of impact the platform could have. But I think the way we defined it was not like this. No civil discourse. No cooperation.

Palihapitiya said the problem is not just isolated to Russia-backed ads and the 2016 presidential election, which has prompted officials from Facebook, Twitter and Google to answer questions in Congress.


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