‘No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth.’
Another former Facebook executive has spoken out about the harm the social network is doing to civil society around the world. Chamath Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels “tremendous guilt” about the company he helped make. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.
Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”
He went on to describe an incident in India where hoax messages about kidnappings shared on WhatsApp led to the lynching of seven innocent people. “That’s what we’re dealing with,” said Palihapitiya. “And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.” He says he tries to use Facebook as little as possible, and that his children “aren’t allowed to use that shit.” He later adds, though, that he believes the company “overwhelmingly does good in the world.”
Palihapitiya’s remarks follow similar statements of contrition from others who helped build Facebook into the powerful corporation it is today. In November, early investor Sean Parker said he has become a “conscientious objector” to social media, and that Facebook and others had succeeded by “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” A former product manager at the company, Antonio Garcia-Martinez, has said Facebook lies about its ability to influence individuals based on the data it collects on them, and wrote a book, Chaos Monkeys, about his work at the firm.
These former employees have all spoken out at a time when worry about Facebook’s power is reaching fever pitch. In the past year, concerns about the company’s role in the US election and its capacity to amplify fake news have grown, while other reports have focused on how the social media site has been implicated in atrocities like the “ethnic cleansing” of Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic group.
In his talk, Palihapitiya criticized not only Facebook, but Silicon Valley’s entire system of venture capital funding. He said that investors pump money into “shitty, useless, idiotic companies,” rather than addressing real problems like climate change and disease. Palihapitiya currently runs his own VC firm, Social Capital, which focuses on funding companies in sectors like healthcare and education.
Palihapitiya also notes that although tech investors seem almighty, they’ve achieved their power more through luck than skill. “Everybody’s bullshitting,” he said. “If you’re in a seat, and you have good deal flow, and you have precious capital, and there’s a massive tailwind of technological change … Over time you get one of the 20 [companies that become successful] and you look like a genius. And nobody wants to admit that but that’s the fucking truth.”
samgribleystree: People don’t think anymore. Every opinion is based on social acceptance.
notsarasolo: It’s interesting because before facebook you could go out and meet someone and make a connection with them and then later on you find out something about them that you disagree with, but you still have some level of acquaintanceship with them because you were able to humanize them. That in turn prevents you from automatically disregarding anyone who isn’t ideologically aligned with you.
Nowadays though you have a lot of access to information about people before you let them into your life so you have the ability to strictly control who you let in. It’s only natural that you’re going to let in the people who think most similar to you and enjoy as many of the things you do. When the people whom you associate with only validate everything you say it radicalizes you because it prevents you from humanizing the other side.
The problem with companies like facebook, google, and twitter is that they’ve taken a side in an attempt to gain more power than simply that of billion dollar companies.
ruralchinesefarmer: I’ve always thought that places like Facebook, Twitter, and even Reddit are pushed so that we become filled with an endless torrent of meaningless factoids and information. It creates a jack of all trades, master of none sort of intellect in a lot of people, where we know a bit about everything, but really, we end up knowing nothing.
HibikiSS: Hell yeah, people don’t care about the truth so long as things are worded in a way that triggers an emotional response. Wrong use of the internet has created a social disaster of epic proportions.
kit8642: Huh? Same guy says Facebook and Google are like “surveillance states” and are inviting a government crackdown.: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/14/chamath-palihapitiya-on-fang-stocks-amazon-winning-facebook-risk.html
spunkymarimba: Delete Facebook.
simplystimpy: >He later adds, though, that he believes the company “overwhelmingly does good in the world.”
What good has Facebook done? I’m being serious. How has Facebook contributed to the advancement of the human species, even by a corporate stretch of the definition of “altruism?”
If he wanted to frame Facebook as a force for good, he shouldn’t have led with seven people being brutally murdered over false information, *and* also the fact that his own children “aren’t allowed to use that sh*t.”
mygangwillgetyou: All the world is finally a stage…where we can watch eachother’s suffering and downfall.
mu_on: ALL social media sites are designed to be addictive, some are far better at it than others, and the effectiveness is dependent upon the individual. I’m not defending Facebook, but do you realize how many things are dopamine-driven in our society? Video games, movies, television, mobile phones, even books… the list goes on and on.
My theory for why social media is the most far-reaching is that it’s an easy at-any-moment distraction from the reality around us. You hate your job, browsing Facebook/Twitter/Reddit makes it more tolerable.
Neubeowulf: Does anybody consider how things need to change?
Was it the Printing Press assisted Europe out of Feudalism into the Renaissance?
Could Social Media do something similar and deliver the world out of its current “Modern” state and into a new human development? A new economic system? A new form of government? A new form of life on the planet?
Peanuttles: It’s just a tool. It can be used for good or evil, just like any tool. Even a hammer–you can build things–good things–to provide shelter for your family, for instance. Or you can hit someone in the head and kill them with it. It’s always been that way. It’s all contingent upon what’s in the heart of the person or people wielding the tool, and it will always be that way. It doesn’t matter if it’s a rock or social media.
RatsuMacKinnon: No sh*t sherlock… sorry
RatsuMacKinnon: People who compare it to the printing press are not considering that the speed and frequency do matter. At some point, there hits a breaking point. Not everything that is similar is the same. Newspapers were long and valued intellect, Twitter is the antithesis of intellect.
There is also a huge gap between use of technology and knowledge of how it works. Printing press was just a more efficient way to put ink to paper, people understood that when they read a newspaper. People don’t necessarily understand every algorithm and digital design of social media, or how echo-chambers really effect content.
andrazz: Today i realized why kids these days even if they have the net dont learn as my generation did. Facebook
Reasonedfor1: From the article:
>He went on to describe an incident in India where hoax messages about kidnappings shared on WhatsApp led to the lynching of seven innocent people. “That’s what we’re dealing with,” said Palihapitiya. “And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.
I can count the number of times I used FB. Never found it intriguing. However, because of social media, how extremists act is just becoming clearer. They have always existed, but out of our sight. Also let’s remember, msm contributed to the problem much before FB and Twitter.
>In his talk, Palihapitiya criticized not only Facebook, but Silicon Valley’s entire system of venture capital funding. He said that investors pump money into “sh*tty, useless, idiotic companies,” rather than addressing real problems like climate change and disease.
We are being robbed by our government in the name of climate change. What else is needed?
>Palihapitiya currently runs his own VC firm, Social Capital, which focuses on funding companies in sectors like healthcare and education.
I know quite well Google does. As for zuckerberg, I thought everyone knows now that he is all about greed with an urge to cause chaos in the society. Hence, his company neither removes ISIS groups and pages run by real terrorists nor takes any strict action against graphic pictures including those that show pedophilia even after several reporting.
bartink: Posted on the social media site Reddit.
Lo0seR: Derren Brown *mind tricks* approved!
strongbad99: Ok so how does this play out in everyday life? Aka not while on facebook. Are these feedback loops affecting behavior in normal social interactions? That’s the key for me
Stevegracy: Anybody watch the full version? He sure says “fuck” a lot. Almost to the point that it’s distracting. I thought that was really odd. Like he was trying to appeal to the cool young and hip crowd
i_LOSNAR_i: The algorithms, nasty are they that manipulate the masses so easily.
Dummy_Detector: Destroying the weak maybe…
onetimerone: Income inequity, wage stagnation, increasing goods costs, higher taxes and trying to constantly make ends meet with less resources is the real enemy of human peace and tranquility. Watching elected leaders lie about behaviors the rest of society would be imprisoned for is ripping the social fabric as well, whatever happened to lead by example? GOP leaders saying diversity is not our strength isn’t helpful either, freaking putz.
JustDoinThings: No, the Left’s propaganda is doing this. Stop the fake news and these people would be normal.
Former Facebook exec: “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. You are being programmed”
Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO Social Capital, on Money as an Instrument of Change
During his View From The Top talk, Chamath Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of Social Capital, discussed how money is an instrument of change which should be used to make the world a better place. “Money drives the world for better or for worse. Money is going to be made and allocated – you have a moral imperative to get it and then use it to make a difference.“
Aye_or_Nay: This is so true.
Dump Facebook. Kill your television.
-QZ-: If what he says is true (it is) then social media is a public, national threat and needs to be ended.
RagingSatyr: Watch the whole video, definitely worth it. His worldview and advice really rung true with me.
tatertatertatertot: I am surprised this submission made it this far up the chain.
This is one of the most important facets of our continued dissolution as a society. No matter the source of the lies we’re confronted with, and tempted to believe because they so accurately give us what we want to hear, this stuff is a *problem*.
The internet has facts, and we can find more facts right now (if we care about facts), than anyone in human history.
When Noam Chomsky talked about Manufactured Consent, that was in a pre-internet age.
When the internet opened up knowledge and information to people, there had to be another method of control.
Whether by design or by happy accident, social media is that control.
I’m glad the people involved in Facebook are speaking out. They need to be amplified.