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Sean Parker Wonders What Facebook Is 'Doing to Our Children's Brains'
11 November 2017, 02:02 | Ross Houston
Sean Parker ex-president of Facebook. Theo Wargo Getty Images for Global Citizen
"God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains", he told Axios.
It's a social-validation feedback loop ... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.
Facebook's founders, including chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Parker himself, understood the implications of exploiting human brains by creating something which "literally changes your relationship with society" - and did it anyway. "And that's going to get you to contribute more content, and that's going to get you... more likes and comments", Mr. Parker said. Now only has Facebook served as a magnet for new users, the various interactions within it such as likes or comments tend to draw people in even more and keep them engaged; so much that the virtual mode of communication is something accorded more value than interactions in real life.
Sean Parker, who has now quit social media, describing himself as a "conscientious objector", warning that the very objective of Facebook was to monopolise as much time as possible.
Sean Parker also explained their thought process as they went about building Facebook and how other social networks are built. 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.
"It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways", he continued.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Facebook in Menlo Park, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.
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Mr Parker was played by Justin Timberlake and Zuckerberg by Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network in 2010.
Having first risen to prominence as the creator of the pioneering file-sharing service Napster, he met Zuckerberg whose idea was Facebook, and helped steer the firm to Silicon Valley having successfully attracted big name investors. "'We'll get you eventually, '" he said. "You know, you will be, '" he said.
'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, okay".
Parker said that he never anticipated the consequences of what would happen when Facebook grew to have two billion monthly users.
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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