Ex-Facebook Prez Sean Parker Says They Knew They Were Exploiting Vulnerabilities, ‘Did It Anyway’


Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and former president of Facebook, painted a dark picture of the social media platform he was once president of in an interview with Mike Allen of Axios.

Parker, who was the first president of Mark Zuckerberg’s mammoth social media platform (famously portrayed by Justin Timberlake in The Social Network), described how they would draw in users during his time at Facebook.

“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying,” Parker told Allen, before noting “the unintended consequences” of a network growing to “a billion or two billion people.”

“It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” Parker said. “It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways.”

“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” he continued, pointing to a recent surge in anxiety “amongst high school kids and younger.”

The tech entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist then pointed the finger at the inventors of platforms like Facebook for exploiting their users.

Parker claimed that with the development of Facebook and other platforms, “the thought process was all about how to we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible.”

“And that means that we needed to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.”

“It’s a social validation feedback loop,” he continued. “You’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology”

You can watch some more of Parker’s comments at Axios, where he claims that he and Mark Zuckerberg “understood” the exploitation of users, “consciously, and we did it anyway.”

Watch above, via Axios.

[image via screengrab]

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor in Chief of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com. Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin