Sean Parker: We Built Facebook to Exploit You

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'

"God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains", he confessed.

Working alongside Mark Zuckerberg, he revealed that they knew they were creating something addictive that exploited "a vulnerability in human psychology" from the outset. Parker, current chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, said that the investors and creators - especially Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom, and himself - were all conscious of the so-called validation loop.

At an Axios event in Philadelphia, Parker gave some tidbits on how companies like Facebook are ballooning so much.

Parker spoke about the early days of Facebook where people expressed reservations against getting onto the social media network, citing valuing real-life interactions over virtual interactions. It's not the first time a tech entrepreneur has disavowed something they've created or been involved with - Programmer Ethan Zuckerman famously penned an apology letter for unleashing pop-up ads into the world several years ago.

A like or a comment on a post sends users "a little dopamine hit", he said, encouraging them to post again.

Parker also joked that his comments would probably prompt Mark Zuckerberg to block him on Facebook. "It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways", said Parker.


"But it's less about Facebook, less about any one platform, and it's more about understanding what people are doing with these platforms, what kids are doing".

Calling himself "something of a conscientious objector" on social media, Parker said he was anxious about what social networks are doing to children's brains. I value presence. I value intimacy.' And I would say, "We'll get you eventually,"' said Parker. His role in the creation of Facebook was portrayed by Justin Timberlake in the 2010 movie The Social Network. "You know, you will be", he explained.

"I don't know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying", he added, pointing to "unintended consequences" that arise when a network grows to have more than 2 billion users.

Mr Parker first entered the media scene when he co-founded Napster, a free internet service for sharing music files, in 1999.

Parker resigned as president in 2005 following his arrest on suspicion of drug possession when his holiday home was raided by police and cocaine was found.

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