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Former Facebook executives express “guilt” of the social media giant

In the past few months, former Facebook executives have expressed “guilt” in the social media giant, its growing impact on society and the impact on the culture. Here’s a preview of their comments.

In a rather unusual step, Facebook has fired back at Chamath Palihapitiya after the former Facebook exec said social media is “the destruction of how society works.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the social networking giant said, “Chamath not on Facebook for more than six years. Facebook is a very different company back then, and as we have grown we have realized how our responsibilities have grown.”

Facebook added and has worked with experts to understand the impacts of his service to the users.

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“We have also made significant investments in people, technology and processes, and as Mark Zuckerberg said on the last transcription — we are prepared to take our profitability to ensure that the right investments are made,” Facebook concluded.

The statement comes after Palihapitiya, who now runs the venture capital firm Social Capital, and is the co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, said: social media is a corruption of the fabric of the society.

“I think we all knew in our mind, although we feigned this whole line of ‘unintended consequences’ I think in the back recesses of our minds, something bad could happen,” Palihapitiya said in a November interview that recently surfaced. “It is literally at a point that we now have a number of tools that can rip apart the social fabric of how society works. That is literally where we are. I would encourage all of you how this process is – if you feed the beast, the beast will destroy you.”

Palihapitiya added that the use of social media is becoming dangerous for the society:

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created for the destruction of how society works. No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it is not an American problem. This is not about the Russian ads. This is a global problem. So we are in a very bad state of affairs now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave, by and between each other.”

He said that he rarely or never makes use of Facebook, posted maybe twice in seven years, something that has caused “major problems” in his own social circles. He also added that he did not want his own children.

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Not the first time

Facebook’s statement is unusual as Palihapitiya is not the first ex-Facebook employee to make comments about the negative consequences of the social networks.

Last month, former Facebook president Sean Parker, which also co-founder of the music streaming service Napster, said that he was worried about what social media is doing to children’s brains.

“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I said, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people, and … it literally changes your relationship with the society, with each other … It probably interferes with the productivity in weird ways,” Parker said in an interview with Axios’ Mike Allen. “God only knows what it does to our children in the brain.”

Another former Facebook employee and creator of the “like” button, engineer Justin Rosenstein, said that he thinks that his invention is a contribution to “time badly spent.”

Snap — the company that is the owner of Snapchat also recently criticized on social media, with its CEO Evan Spiegel recently said social media has led to the rise of “fake news.”

Facebook has yet to respond to a request for comment questions why the issued a statement after Palihapitiya notes, but not that of Parker or Rosenstein.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

 

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