Social media has become a big part of our daily lives, but one former Facebook executive warns that it's also ripping apart the fabric of society.
It's easier nowadays to keep in touch with friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and family, see how others are doing and share bits of each other's lives on social media. It's convenient and often times a pleasant distraction, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
Social Media Is Ripping Society Apart
Facebook and other social networks have a variety of benefits and perks, but they also come with their fair share of disadvantages and negative effects. Several studies have already highlighted the negative impact of social media and a former Facebook executive now agrees that it's gone too far.
Chamath Palihapitiya, former Facebook vice president of user growth, recently gave a speech at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, as The Verge first reported. While he did not deny the benefits of social media, he did note that he feels "tremendous guilt" about Facebook and the impact it's been having on society.
In his speech, Palihapitiya said that he helped create tools that "are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works."
Misinformation, Mistruth, And Extremes
"The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we've created are destroying how society works," Palihapitiya pointed out, talking about online interactions based on likes, hearts, and other such reactions. People have hundreds or thousands of "friends" on social media, but no real connection. "No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth," he added, pointing out that it's a global issue and it's not just about the Russian ads.
Palihapitiya advised people, not just Americans, to take a serious break from social media because it's in the detriment of society and inter-human relationships and, in some cases, it pushes things to the extreme.
The former Facebook exec mentioned a tragic situation in India, where seven innocent people were lynched because of fake messages circulating on WhatsApp about some kidnappings.
Palihapitiya added that this could become even more extreme if the wrong people can manipulate many others to do what they want. He notes that while Facebook does a lot of good in the world, he tries to use it as little as possible and he doesn't let his kids use it at all.
Other former Facebook employees have previously spoken out about the negative impact of Facebook and other social networks, at a time when fake news, online abuse, hoaxes, and hate speech are on the rise. Palihapitiya doesn't say that it's all bad, but he does recommend limited use.
Check out his speech in the video below.