Former Facebook executive says social media platform is 'ripping - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Former Facebook executive says social media platform is 'ripping apart the fabric of how society works'

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NEW YORK, NY -

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive who left the company in 2011, says he feels "tremendous guilt" over his work on "tools that are ripping apart the fabric of how society works." 

Palihapitiya made the comments at a Stanford Business School last month and were recently published by tech website The Verge on Monday. 

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth,” Palihapitiya said. “This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem ... It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”

Facebook's founding president, Sean Parker, also criticized the way the company "exploit(s) a vulnerability in human psychology" by creating a "social-validation feedback loop" during an interview at an Axios event last month. 

 “I can’t control them,” Palihapitaya said of his former employer. “I can control my decision, which is that I don’t use that s***. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is that they’re not allowed to use that s***.”

Palihapitaya also urged his audience to "soul search" about their own relationship with social media. 

“Your behaviors, you don’t realize it, but you are being programmed,” he said. “It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you’re going to give up, how much of your intellectual independence.” 

Many observers attributed the unexpected outcomes of the 2016 US presidential election and Brexit referendum at least in part to the ideological echo chambers created by Facebook’s algorithms, as well as the proliferation of fake news, conspiracy mongering, and propaganda alongside legitimate news sources in Facebook’s news feeds.

Palihapitiya referenced a case from the Indian state of Jharkhand this spring, when false WhatsApp messages warning of a group of kidnappers led to the lynching of seven people, according to MSN. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

“That’s what we’re dealing with,” Palihapitiya said. “Imagine when you take that to the extreme where bad actors can now manipulate large swaths of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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