Sean Parker: We Built Facebook to Exploit You

Sean Parker Slams Facebook for 'Exploiting a Vulnerability in Human Psychology'

Sean Parker Slams Facebook for 'Exploiting a Vulnerability in Human Psychology'

Sean Parker, famous tech entrepreneur and founding president of Facebook, says he's anxious about the pervasiveness and perpetually-growing power of social media companies. Parker, the founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, spoke at an Axios event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where he discussed social media.

He conceded that he didn't know if he really understood the consequences of what he was saying due to the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to have billions of users. Users spend approximately 20 minutes a day on the website, and Parker says that "it probably interferes with productivity in weird ways".

"God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains", Sean Parker said in an interview published by Axios on Thursday.

"How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible", said Parker, referring to Facebook's earliest mission.

That vulnerability and dopamine hit in turn motivates people to post more often, which generates more page views for Facebook and, therefore, more ad revenue.

"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, you know, you will be", he said.

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Parker, speaking at an Axios event, pulled back the curtain on Facebook's early days, saying it was created to consume people. He said he believes social networking is changing the way we relate to one another and doing damage in its ever-expanding wake.

A rash of recent studies have found Facebook and other social media impact humans in a myriad of ways, including sexual infidelity, obesity and behaviorial issues, physical intimacy, and even athletic performance.

"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", Parker said. And we did it anyway.

Parker made his mark as an entrepreneur early: at 19, he founded the music-sharing service Napster.

Parker left the stage joking that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would block his account after learning of his comments. However, in light of the mass disinformation dump on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and everywhere online during the election, the real-world consequences have become more clear and frightening.

"Social media addiction is thought to affect around 5 percent of young people, with social media being described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol", the study stated.

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