Facebook was designed to exploit human vulnerability, says former Facebook President
By Hilary Lamb
Published Friday, November 10, 2017
At an Axios event in Philadelphia, Sean Parker – who was speaking about cancer research – criticised the manipulative nature of social networks, stating that Facebook’s founders intended for the network to be addictive.
Parker – who was also the co-founder of Napster – joined forces with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg five months after the social network was established, becoming its first president. Parker is now chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.
He claimed that he had become a “conscientious objector” with regards to social media.
“The thought process that went into building these [social networks] – Facebook being the first of them to really understand it – that thought process was all about: How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” Parker said.
“And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you more likes and comments.”
Parker explained that Facebook’s founders and other big players – including himself – were conscious about what they were doing, but this awareness did not prevent them from “exploiting” psychological weakness.