Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Ex-Facebook President Sean Parker: Network 'Exploiting' Human Psychology

Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker says social media site exploits human weakness is its bid to 'consume as much time and conscious attention as possible' Sean Parker Net Worth: How Rich Is Facebook's Founding President?
Jeanne Townsend | 12 November, 2017, 02:02

Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and former president of Facebook, painted a dark picture of the social media platform he was once president of in an interview with Mike Allen of Axios.

At an Axios event in Philadelphia, Parker noted he has become a "conscientious objector" on social media, though he maintains accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

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", he added.

Parker says that the thought process when building Facebook was to figure out "how do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?" He said it's all by design, because receiving a "like" or a comment on your post gives you a little hit of dopamine. "And that's going to get you to contribute more content, and that's going to get you ... more likes and comments". Parker admits that he and Zuckerberg "understood this consciously" - meaning that they realized they were taking advantage of individuals' inherent need for approval from others, "and we did it anyway". Parker said people initially resisted, but knew they would join eventually.

If you've followed Facebook closely from the beginning (or have watched The Social Network), you'll be familiar with the role Sean Parker played in the creation of the company.

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Referencing Facebook's fledgling early days, Parker recalled some early resistance he encountered to the idea of sharing one's most intimate - some would even say trivial - personal details with the rest of the world.

The tech investor, also a co-founder of Napster and, perhaps most recognizably, the guy played by Justin Timberlake in "The Social Network", said Facebook was created to exploit the way people fundamentally think and behave.

It puts users under a "social-validation feedback loop", said Parker, something that "a hacker like myself would come up with". Now he's the founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

In a blog post, Facebook's chief security officer Alex Stamos wrote that "we will continue to invest in our people and technology to help provide a safe place for civic discourse and meaningful connections on Facebook". The three tech giants testified in marathon congressional hearings last week over the impact of social networks on last year's U.S. presidential election, and how Russian agents leveraged social media to sow discord among people.

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