Former Facebook Executive Says Social Media Is 'Destroying How Society Works'

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Former Facebook Executive Says Social Media Is 'Destroying How Society Works'

Photo Credit: Bloomberg

Highlights

  • He says social media is "ripping apart the social fabric of how society w
  • Chamath Palihapitiya was Vice President for User Growth at Facebook
  • He also says Silicon Valley VCs fund "sh*tty, useless, idiotic companies"

A former Facebook employee has criticised social media for "destroying how society works". Chamath Palihapitiya, former Vice President for User Growth at Facebook, says that he feels "tremendous guilt" for having created tools "that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works".

The YouTube video of his talk at Stanford Graduate School of Business, which took place in November, surfaced on The Verge. Palihapitiya also says that not just Facebook but the entire social media industry is to be blamed for "exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology."

The ex-Facebook VP claimed that he tries to use Facebook as little as possible. "I can't control them," Palihapitiya reportedly said of Facebook. "I can control my decision, which is that I don't use that sh**. I can control my kids' decisions, which is that they're not allowed to use that sh**."

The problem isn't just about fake news and hate speech in the US, he mentions, "this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem." He expanded this stance by pointing towards a recent incident in India where hoax messages on WhatsApp allegedly led to lynchings of innocent people. Bad actors, willing enough, are capable enough of orchestrating such incidents at their will, is what Palihapitiya believes is the problem with social media. He did, however, mention that Facebook "overwhelmingly does good in the world."

This stance amplifies the perception of major social media platforms having an unfair advantage over public discourse in the world. Some users believe that political incidents like Trump's presidential win and Britain's exit from the EU are to be blamed, in part, on manipulative information shared on platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, both owned by the same company.

Social media isn't the only topic that Palihapitiya talked about at the event. He also said that the entire Silicon Valley venture funding model was broken as investors are apparently pumping money into "sh*tty, useless, idiotic companies," instead of the real environmental and healthcare issues, according to Palihapitiya who runs a VC firm called Social Capital, which focuses on companies in education and healthcare sectors.

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