Facebook co-founder Sean Parker stated at an Axios event in Philadelphia that the company he helped fund—and make billions off of—was created with the purpose of getting people addicted. Parker, the former “dude” who birthed the once-illegal music downloading site Napster, was an early investor in Mark Zuckerberg’s social media juggernaut. In the Axios interview, he stated that he and the other founders knew exactly what they were doing almost from the start.
Parker spoke about how Facebook feeds the addiction of validation, stating that they created a “social-validation feedback loop” that exploits people’s psychological vulnerabilities. “It’s exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with.”
The conscientious objector
It should be noted that Parker wasn’t bragging about what he, Zuckerberg, and other co-founders did. He was candidly copping to the monster they invented in their little labs. He spoke about how it grew from something small into something that changed society. That is still changing society. How it has affected both work and personal productivity. “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” Parker said.
Parker claimed that though he still has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, he has become a conscientious objector to social media’s negative aspects. He is an active philanthropist whose many endeavors include founding and chairing Facebook’s Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.
Other famous regretters
Parker isn’t the first person to regret something they created. There have been plenty of others—and there will be plenty more. However, here are just a few of the more famous ones:
- Ethan Zuckerman wrote an apology letter for plaguing the world (wide web) with pop-up ads: “I wrote the code to launch the window and run an ad in it. I’m sorry. Our intentions were good.”
- Joseph Oppenheimer, the father of the atom bomb, quoted the Bhagavad Gita after witnessing the detonation of his creation: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
- Victor Frankenstein recognized his mistake immediately upon animating his “monster” in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: “The beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.”
Is the end of Facebook near?
Parker’s misgivings could be a foreshadowing of what’s to come for the famed social network—especially in this current climate of holding people accountable for their actions. The news is now filled with stories of Hollywood power players preying on women and spouses looking to catch a cheater. Facebook has also occupied much of the media’s attention lately. The company has been subjected to a great deal of public scrutiny due to recent crises involving Russian-bought ads and cries of fake news. Whether it can pull itself together and gain peoples’ trust again or break apart under the pressure remains to be seen.
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