Elder Patriot – Two early Facebook executives who helped build the Internet behemoth have made shocking confessions expressing regret for the damage they have done to the foundations of society.
Chamath Palihapitiya and Sean Parker bare their souls in the following video:
“Consumer internet businesses are about exploiting psychology and that is one area where you want to be fast because people are unpredictable and we want to figure out how to manipulate you as fast as possible and give you back that dopamine hit.”
“I feel tremendous guilt. I think we all knew in the back of our minds, even though we feigned this whole line that there really probably aren’t any really bad consequences, I think in the back deep, deep, deep recesses of our minds we kind of knew something bad could happen. But I think the way we defined it was not like this.”
“It’s easy to characterize what I said as a Facebook specific thing because I worked there and I was a key part of growing it.
“What I said was, I think the tools that have been created today are starting to erode the social fabric of how society works.”
“Today we live in a world where it’s easy to confuse truth and popularity. And you can use money to amplify whatever you believe and get people to believe that what is popular is now truthful. And, what is not popular may not be truthful.”
Was this the phenomena behind the Clinton strategy to overwhelm the mainstream media and then social media platforms with negative images of Donald Trump? After all, who wants to be called deplorable?
That strategy worked in h 2008 when an unaccomplished second year Senator defeated a significantly more experienced Senator and war hero because of his team of Internet gurus and then again in 2012 after a disastrous first term when he defeated a man of considerably greater accomplishments and goodwill.
Unfortunately for Hillary, Americans were so beaten down by 2016 they snapped out of their coma and voted for their survival.
“We know for a fact that what all of these [social media] systems do, every single one, is it exploits our own natural tendencies as human being to get and want feedback. And, that feedback, chemically speaking, is the release of dopamine in your brain.”
“And, so what these feedback loops do, and they exist everywhere, in Call of Duty and in other video games, in social networking sites, they get you to react.”
Former Facebook President Sean Parker adds his observations:
“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying. The unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or two billion people it literally changes your relationship with society and with each other. It probably interferes with productivity and in other ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
Parker said that the thought process when he was part of the team building Facebook was, how do we consume as much of a users time and attention as possible? That required a dopamine hit every so often to keep people engaged in much the same way a drug dealer keeps his addicts engaged.
The idea was to exploit human nature. With Facebook, as well as all of the other networks, that is a social validation feedback loop where the potential for hundreds, or even hundreds of thousands, of likes far transcends the gratification on a single personal interaction in the flesh.
Facebook is among many other social networks that exploit this human psychological vulnerability. Parker admitted that they understood this from the outset but that they did it anyway.
This goes a long ways towards explaining the emergence of the snowflake generation who can find affirmation for their imaginary belief system from millions of online friends. The likes, hearts, and thumbs up of 100,000 friends are more than enough to dismiss the experienced reason of parents, family and other elders.
We return to Chamath Palihapitiya:
“Right now we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are.”
“If you feed the beast that beast will destroy you. It is a point in time where people need to hard break from using these tools. The short-term dopamine feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.
“No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth, and it is not an American problem, this is not about Russian ads, this is a global problem.
“We are in a really bad state of affairs right now. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”
Palihapitiya warned about the potential for mob violence or vigilantism cause by social media. The otherwise unprovoked attacks on Trump supporters, the damaging of cars with Trump-Pence bumper stickers, the destruction of lawn signs, and sheer number of Antifa activists who resort to violence and those who defend their right to do so, are evidence that these people have been triggered by their social media associations.
We have long been alert to the ways mobs amplify behaviors that people by themselves wouldn’t be a part of. Now multiply that mob influence by feedback from billions of like-minded people.
Palihapitiya says he was strong enough to resist the human programming he witnessed and he stopped using social media, cold turkey. Could you do the same?
That’s a more important question than you think. Facebook and a few other social media sites now have the power to cut you off cold turkey by effectively shutting down, in the same manner that the mainstream media has done, all positive information about a candidate its management doesn’t agree with.
Don’t think that can happen? Then consider this little nugget from digiday.com that we came across this past Thursday: Facebook has made it clear that they are going to completely deprioritize publishers.
That means access to sites like this is going to become even more restricted than it already had been. While the number of friends joining our pages continue growing our reach has already been reduced by more than 80%.
This not only costs us dearly but Facebook operates as a partner in our earnings. Why would they deliberately limit lucrative revenue streams for themselves if it weren’t about censorship?
Don’t conservatives deserve their dopamine hits too?