Site’s founding president, who became a billionaire many thanks to the company, says: ‘God only knows what the doing come our children brains’


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Sean Parker said Facebook ‘probably interferes with performance in weird ways’. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Sean Parker claimed Facebook ‘probably interferes with performance in weird ways’. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Facebook’s founders knew lock were producing something addictive that exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology” native the outset, follow to the company’s starting president Sean Parker.

You are watching: Social validation feedback loop

Parker, whose stake in facebook made him a billionaire, criticized the society networking giant at one Axios event in Philadelphia this week. Currently the founder and also chair the the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Parker was there to speak around advances in cancer therapies. However, the took the time to administer some insight into the early thinking at facebook at a time as soon as social media companies challenge intense scrutiny indigenous lawmakers over their power and influence.


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Parker described how in the early on days the Facebook human being would tell the they weren’t on social media because they valued their real-life interactions.

“And I would certainly say, ‘OK. Friend know, you will be,’” that said.

“I don’t know if i really interpreted the results of what ns was saying,” that added, pointing come “unintended consequences” the arise as soon as a network grows to have much more than 2 exchange rate users.

“It literally transforms your partnership with society, with each other. It more than likely interferes with efficiency in monster ways. God only knows what that doing come our children’s brains,” that said.

He explained that as soon as Facebook to be being arisen the objective was: “How execute we consume as lot of her time and conscious fist as possible?” It was this perspective that caused the production of attributes such together the “like” button that would offer users “a small dopamine hit” come encourage them come upload much more content.

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“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … precisely the kind of thing that a hacker favor myself would come up with, due to the fact that you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human being psychology.”

Parker, that previously founded the file-sharing website Napster, join the on facebook team in 2004 five months after the site had launched as a student brochure at Harvard. Parker saw the site’s potential and was, follow to Zuckerberg, “pivotal in helping facebook transform native a university project into a real company”.

In 2005, police found cocaine in a vacation house Parker was renting and also he was arrested on hesitation of possession the a schedule 1 substance. He no charged, but the arrest rattled investors and also he resigned shortly after.

Thanks largely to his brief stint in ~ Facebook, Parker’s net worth is approximated to be an ext than $2.6bn. He set up the Parker foundation in June 2015 to use few of his wealth to assistance “large-scale systemic change” in life sciences, global public health and also civic engagement.

Parker is not the just Silicon sink entrepreneur to express remorse over the innovations he helped to develop. The previous Googler Tristan Harris is among several techies interviewed by the Guardian in October to slam the industry.

“All that us are jacked right into this system,” that said. “All of our minds have the right to be hijacked. Our choices are not as totally free as we think they are.”