Face­book ‘ex­ploits’ our ad­dic­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

THE found­ing pres­i­dent of Face­book has spo­ken can­didly about how the so­cial me­dia gi­ant is de­signed to be as ad­dic­tive as pos­si­ble, say­ing: “God only knows what it’s do­ing to our chil­dren’s brains”.

Sean Parker said Face­book ex­ploits hu­man “vul­ner­a­bil­ity” by mak­ing users crave val­i­da­tion.

At a de­bate in Philadel­phia, the 38- year- old in­ter­net en­tre­pre­neur talked openly about the dan­gers of so­cial me­dia and the cyn­i­cal mo­tives of its cre­ators, de­spite re­main­ing one of Face­book’s ma­jor share­hold­ers.

He said: “The thought process that went into build­ing these ap­pli­ca­tions, Face­book be­ing the first of them to re­ally un­der­stand what it was all about: ‘How do we con­sume as much of your time and con­scious at­ten­tion as pos­si­ble?’”

De­scrib­ing what he called a “so­cial val­i­da­tion feed­back loop”, Parker ex­plained how so­cial me­dia sites such as Face­book, Twit­ter and In­sta­gram snare users into end­lessly check­ing if oth­ers have re­sponded to a com­ment or photo they have posted on­line.

He said so­cial me­dia “likes” or pos­i­tive com­ments were “lit­tle dopamine hits”.

Dopamine is the chem­i­cal com­pound re­leased by the brain that has been linked to ad­dic­tive be­hav­iour. Parker, who no longer works for Face­book, added: “It’s 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.”

Re­cent es­ti­mates sug­gest we will spend sev­eral years of our lives look­ing at our phone screens. – Daily Mail

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