Former Facebook executive attacks network: “We have been hijacked”

Former president Sean Parker has claimed multi-billion dollar social media network Facebook was created to exploit “vulnerabilities in the human mindset.”

Parker’s stake in the company made him a billionaire, but footage from a corporate event at the end of last year shows him attacking Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook for its manipulation of the consumer market.

In an interview with Axios, Palmer said the company’s founders intentionally built the site to consume as much human attention as possible.

“It physically changes your relationship with society and with each other. The inventors, creators… understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”

NZ Herald reported that Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, was found to have the worst impact on young people’s self esteem – negatively affecting people’s body image, sleep and fear of missing out.

Parker is a former hacker who founded file-sharing website Napster, but said he had become a “conscientious objector” to the social media network. His stint at at the company was short-lived, resigning from the site in 2005 after a drug scandal.

In the early stages of Facebook, Parker said people would tell him they weren’t on social media because they appreciated their real-life interactions.

“You will be.”

Parker said he didn’t understand the consequences of what was being discussed at the time, pointing to “unintended consequences” that arise when a network grows to over 2 billion users.

He explained that the like button was designed to give users “a little dopamine hit” and encourage them to upload more content.

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop and now that we are in, all of our minds can be hijacked.”
Parker set up the Parker Foundation in 2015 to use some of his estimated $2.6bn wealth to support life sciences, global public health and civic engagement.