Yet another former high-profile Facebook employee went public this week with stinging criticism of the company. This time, former vice president of user growth Chamath Palihapitiya blasted the site for programming us to think a certain way, creating a “vicious circle” of sharing and validation, and even disrupting how society is supposed to work.
“I think in the back, deep, deep recesses of our minds, we kind of knew something bad could happen,” he said. “We have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are.”
He criticized the site for creating “short-term, dopamine-driven” feedback loops that have prevented true communication and civil discourse from taking place. He also said that he doesn’t even use the platform anymore, despite the objections of family and friends, because he wants to avoid becoming “programmed” by it.
Palihapitiya’s comments went viral, and Facebook issued a rare reply to his criticisms.
“Chamath has not been at Facebook for over six years,” the company said in response. “Facebook was a very different company back then and as we have grown we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too.”
It’s interesting that Facebook seems to be owning up to some of the practices Palihapitiya criticized; the fact that the site responded at all indicates he must’ve hit close to home.