For years, he was a top executive at Facebook.
Now, though, Facebook’s former vice president for user growth is sounding the alarm about how the social media company and others are “destroying how society works.” Chamath Palihapitiya, who held the user growth role until 2011, said he feels “tremendous guilt” about it.
“You don’t realize it, but you are being programmed,” Palihapitiya said at a Stanford Graduate School of Business event in November, referring in part to how the desire to rack up “likes” drives almost addictive user engagement. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works.”
Palihapitiya isn’t alone in critiquing the company he helped build into an online, global monolith with billions of users. Earlier in November, Facebook founding president Sean Parker said at an event hosted by the media company Axios that he’s become “something of a conscientious objector” to social media, admitting he didn’t fully understand the consequences online platforms like Facebook and Twitter would have on society.