Former Facebook executive says social media changing how people behave

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Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive, has spoken out about ill effects of the social network on society around the world.

Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of VC firm Social Capital, criticized his former employer, Facebook.

"I feel tremendous guilt", he added. I think we all knew in the back of our minds-even though we feigned this whole line of, like, there probably aren't any bad unintended consequences.

"I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works", Palihapitiya said at the Stanford event.

"The short-term dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, [and] mistruth".

Mr Palihapitiya later appeared on CNBC, emphasising he was talking about social media in general and saying Facebook "have done more than any company to try and fix it". Last month, Sean Parker, a former head of Facebook, said the social network is created to exploit a vulnerability in human psychology that keeps up coming back for more.

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Referring to allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections through social media, he added: "No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth". The tech giant, along with rivals Twitter and Google, testified before Congress last month about the impact of social networks on last year's United States presidential election, and how Russian agents leveraged social media to divide Americans. He added that he has posted on Facebook only a handful of times over the past several years and didn't allow his children to use "this sh-t" either, referring to social media platforms.

Chamath has not been at Facebook for over six years. "This is a global problem", he said.

He further explained that, "Your behaviors-you don't realize it but you are being programmed".

Palihapitiya then advised everyone to take a break away from the clutches of social media, as the technology is negatively affecting society and relationships between people. We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection, because we get rewarded in these short-term signals - hearts, likes, thumbs up - and we conflate that with value and we conflate it with truth. Last month, Sean Parker, Facebook's former president, said the site was created to exploit the way people fundamentally think and behave. "It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you are willing to give up, how much of your intellectual independence".

Palihapitiya isn't the only former Facebook executive to take aim at the social media giant.

It opened with concerns about fake news and "filter bubbles" that can shield people from contrary beliefs, segued into pressure on Facebook and Twitter to clamp down on trolling and online harassment, and culminated with congressional hearings into Russian agents' alleged use of their platforms to meddle with the 2016 presidential election. Facebook has claimed that it will not display ads on Messenger Kids or use its data for advertising on Facebook.

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