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Former Facebook exec says ‘you are being programmed’ by social media

Former Facebook president and Napster founder Sean Parker expressed some regret over the scope of Facebook and how social media “literally changes your relationship with society.”

Parker spoke about the “dopamine hit” of likes and comments on social media. It was an interesting, if not slightly horrifying, thing for one of the seminal members of Facebook to say about social media.

Former Facebook executive and current Golden State Warriors board member Chamath Palihapitiya is took his own criticism of social media further during an impassioned speech at a recent discussion at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Palihapitiya claimed that he feels guilty about what he helped create:

“I feel tremendous guilt. I think we all knew in the back of our minds—even though we feigned this whole line of, like, there probably aren’t any bad unintended consequences. I think in the back, deep, deep recesses of, we kind of knew something bad could happen. But I think the way we defined it was not like this.”

The former Facebook employee, who worked in tech for the social media giant, went on to speak about how social media is changing how people interact with the world around them:

“So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundation of how people behave by and between each other. And I don’t have a good solution. My solution is I just don’t use these tools anymore. I haven’t for years.”

Palihapitiya then got a little fired up, claiming ‘you are being programmed’ by social media:

“Your behaviors—you don’t realize it but you are being programmed. It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you are willing to give up, how much of your intellectual independence. And don’t think, ‘Oh yeah, not me, I’m fucking genius, I’m at Stanford.’ You’re probably the most likely to fucking fall for it. ‘Cause you are fucking check-boxing your whole Goddamn life.”

This is… hardly what you want to hear from someone that was in charge of helping acquire more users for Facebook back during his time at the company from 2005-2011. Palihapitiya even said that his children aren’t “allowed to use that shit.”

Social media has clearly changed people’s relationship with the world and the people around them. I’m not sure the discontents are as intense as Palihapitiya and Parker are asserting, but maybe I’m just programmed as shit.

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