Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are supposed to bring society closer, where thanks to the internet, people from all over the world can connect with each other. However according to former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya, he believes that social media is actually doing the opposite by “ripping apart” society.
Palihapitiya joined Facebook in 2007 and served as the social media’s VP for user growth. However fast forward a decade later, Palihapitiya expressed the guilt he feels for about the company he helped make. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”
He goes on to add, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works. 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.” He also points out issues like fake news and misinformation and cites an example in India where fake WhatsApp messages led to the lynching of seven innocent people.
According to Palihapitiya, “That’s what we’re dealing with, and imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.” However despite his seemingly negative take on social media, he concedes that Facebook “overwhelmingly does good in the world.” We guess that ultimately social media platforms like Facebook are just a tool and a means, and it is up to society on how they want to use it (or abuse it).
If you’d like more details, you can check out Palihapitiya’s interview at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in the video above which starts at around the 21 minute mark.
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