Facebook Exploits Vulnerability In Human Psychology, Says Founding President Sean Parker


Facebook's founders knew they were creating something addictive that exploited "a vulnerability in human psychology" from the outset, according to the company's founding president Sean Parker.

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.

"It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways", he continued. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains ...

"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?'" Parker told Axios in an interview. It was this this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the "like" button that would give users "a little dopamine hit" to encourage them to upload more content.

Nevertheless, he describes how he once tried to get as many people as possible to use Facebook's platform. Parker admits that he and Zuckerberg "understood this consciously" - meaning that they realized they were taking advantage of individuals' inherent need for approval from others, "and we did it anyway".

Parker seemed to suggest that he now regrets his involvement with Facebook during his remarks in Philadelphia.

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The tech investor, also a co-founder of Napster and, perhaps most recognizably, the guy played by Justin Timberlake in "The Social Network", said Facebook was created to exploit the way people fundamentally think and behave.

But Dr Highfield says it hard to know what impact this is having because "we don't know necessarily how people are using the platforms". Or Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram, which Facebook owns. It's "exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology".

Parker left the stage joking that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would block his account after learning of his comments.

These days Parker is the founder of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and, in this capacity, he spoke yesterday at an Axios event on the topic of the fight to cure cancer.

Zuckerberg, who has asked for "forgiveness" for ways his "work was used to divide people", revealed Facebook's new mission statement this past summer. He told this to people who were on social media and preferred real-life interactions.