Sean Parker, 38, the founder of now-banned Napster and one of the early investors in Facebook, has sounded an alarm bell regarding the addictive nature of Facebook. Parker, who now heads the Parker Institute of Cancer Immunotherapy, was speaking at an event organised by Axios in Philadelphia about accelerating cancer innovation.
Calling himself 'something of a conscientious objector' on social media, Parker said he was worried about what social networks are doing to children's brains.
"It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains," said Parker.
Parker spoke about the early days of Facebook where people expressed reservations against getting onto the social media network, citing valuing real-life interactions over virtual interactions. Parker was confident of eventually getting these people to get online. One of the building block decisions of these social media applications was, "How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?", said Parker.
This led to the creation of the social-validation feedback loop which would give you little dopamine hits in the form of likes or comments. So as to get people spending more time on these social networks.
"It's a social-validation feedback loop ... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology," said Parker, further adding that people like him, Zuckerberg and Kevin Systrom (Instagram founder) understood this and exploited it to their benefit.