Some of the brains behind Facebook are now worried about the potential damage of the multi-billion dollar social media platform they created.
Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya worked for Facebook from 2007 to 2011.
"I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works," Palihapitiya said during a recent discussion at the Stanford School of Business. "That is truly where we are."
The conversation, which was filmed and posted to YouTube on Nov. 13, went viral this week. In the footage, Palihapitiya admits he feels "tremendous guilt" about Facebook and urged people to take a "hard break" from social media. He said Facebook had eroded the core foundations of how people behave.
"The short-term dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works," Palihapitiya said. "No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth."
In one example, Palihapitiya explained how social media rumors spread through messaging service WhatsApp had led to lynchings in India. As the Hindustan Times explained, the messages and pictures that sparked that violence were later determined to be fake.
Palihapitiya is not the only early Facebook investor to admit those involved in the platform's development were aware there could be unintended consequences. In an interview published by Axios on Nov. 9, Facebook's founding president Sean Parker said he and other social media pioneers were conscious of that and continued to develop the products anyway.
"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 told Axios.
Palihapitiya said while he did not have a good solution, he encouraged young people to understand how important Facebook's impact was and to do something about social media's affects on society.
"If you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you," Palihapitiya said.
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