One of the biggest names in Silicon Valley criticized Facebook and other social media sites in an interview with Axios earlier this week.
Sean Parker said that people like himself and Mark Zuckerberg had just one goal it mind when it came to these platforms: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible’
The answer, according to Parker, was by exploiting human weakness.
Parker said that he now sees himself as ‘something of a conscientious objector’ to social media, despite the fact that he owes most of his massive $2.4 billion fortune to his involvement with Facebook.
He also joked that Mark Zuckerberg would probably end up blocking him in the wake of his comments.
Parker said that he and people like Zuckerberg realized they could keep their users engaged by ‘exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology’ and creating ‘a social-validation feedback loop.’
He explained: ‘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, who now has two children, said: ‘It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.’
Parker seemed to suggest that he now regrets his involvement with Facebook during his remarks in Philadelphia.
‘When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, “I’m not on social media.” And I would say, “OK. You know, you will be.” And then they would say, “No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, “We’ll get you eventually,”‘ said Parker.
He later added that the size and scope of Facebook’s audience ‘literally changes your relationship with society,’ noting the now 2 billion users on the social network.
The billionaire recently founded the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.