Founding president Sean Parker exposes Facebook’s psychological exploitation of its users

Considering Mark Zuckerberg has studied psychology and has no remorse in exploiting everyone for his own benefit, Sean Parker’s revelations in a conversation with Axios should come as no surprise to anyone following this blog or other anti-social media trends.

“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, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’ And then they would say, ‘No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, … ‘We’ll get you eventually.'”

In a way, they’re correct. Despite being off social networks and a non-user for the majority of its shared existence with my lifetime, I am indirectly affected ever since it has gained critical mass, hence why I have to devote dozens of articles detailing how much it has transformed culture and society for the worst. Ideally, social media should be a simple, novel distraction, but instead it is a massive destructive force that cannot be ignored.

In China, and increasingly in Europe and Canada, the marriage of social media and government has already affected everyone in profoundly Orwellian ways.

As a software developer, it is difficult to get my work noticed without having to delve into social networks to use their psychologically exploitive platform, particularly since much of the competition does so without second thought. I am still trying to put ethics first. Maybe I will cave in the future, and they will eventually “get me”.

“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and … it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Well, God knows, and so do a plethora of researchers and Internet users not completely zombified by social media. Many studies have been showed an association between the rise of suicide, depression, social anxiety and social media usage.

“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'”

“And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”

“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.”

My four part series of articles delves into detail about the various psychological tricks used by Facebook for this purpose. It’s a shame that much of today’s technological innovation, particularly with smartphones and social media, is centered around manipulating the mind rather than advancing the human condition. It is a marketing-first approach popularized by Steve Jobs and Apple, then taken to the next level by Facebook, Netflix and Google.

“The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”

Is it any wonder that a lot of them restrict their own children from using the Frankenstein monsters they helped create?

The only way to help those stuck in the social media Matrix is to help them unplug from the Matrix. Feed the zombies “the red pill” and perhaps some sanity can be restored to our culture and society.

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