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Facebook responds to ex-employee’s expression that social media tears apart society

Facebook has been stepping up its effort in many departments this year, from password recovery to its attack on fake or promoted news. One ex-employee, however, is more concerned over Facebook’s contribution to social media tearing apart society.

Former Vice President for growth at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya spoke to Stanford Graduate School of Business about his “tremendous guilt” on his contribution to “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” explains Palihapitiya. “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

Of course, he is speaking of the larger picture including all social media sites and how human nature continuously seeks instant gratification rather than working for that dopamine hit.

Facebook has since responded to these comments, stating that “”Chamath has not been at Facebook for over 6 years,” and that the company is very different now to what it was back then.

“As we have grown, we have realised how our responsibilities have grown … We take our role very seriously and we are working hard to improve. We’ve done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service on well-being, and we’re using it to inform our product development. We are also making significant investments more in people, technology and processes, and – as Mark Zuckerberg said on the last earnings call – we are willing to reduce our profitability to make sure the right investments are made.”

Palihapitiya’s points add onto former Chairman Sean Parker’s comments just last month, in which he described how social media “changes your relationship with society,” going on to worry about its effects on children’s brains.

KitGuru Says: At the very least, Facebook seems to know it is a huge force and has to act accordingly for the benefit of society. Ultimately, responsibility falls on parents to protect their children from the effects of social media as best they can in the meantime. Do you think social media impacts negatively on society?

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