Social Media is ripping apart the fabric of society; the networks are not only a platform for misinformation but a platform that is based on exploiting addiction.
Discourse, communication, and disagreements are fundamental parts of any co-operative society, but with the rise of social media such debate and healthy disputes have disappeared.
Social Media has built a cult-like mindset in the average person, who simply cannot get enough of the ‘feed-back loop dopamine hit’ that is exploited by corporations such as Facebook and Google.
According to former Facebook Vice President for User Growth, Chamath Palihapitiya;
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created [including the hearts, likes, and thumbs up of various social media channels] are destroying how society works.” He added, “[There’s] no civil discourse, no cooperation; [only] misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem–this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”
Regarding an incident in which seven innocent men in India were lynched after a hoax about kidnappings spread through WhatsApp: “That’s what we’re dealing with. And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.”
Mr. Palihapitiya further stated that he feels “tremendous guilt” about Facebook. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”
Previously, former Facebook founder, Sean Parker, similarly stated that the Social Media giant Facebook is exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.
“It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” he told newsite Axios. “It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
“The inventors, creators… understood this consciously. And we did it anyway,” Parker continued.
The impact that social media has on society is not a new finding, instead, psychologists have warned about the effects of Social Media on children for quite some time. In fact, a study published in the UK uncovered that 62% of Facebook and Twitter users said they felt inadequate compared to others, and 60% feel jealous of other social media users.
Furthermore, a different study conducted by UCLA identified that the same brain circuits activated by eating chocolate and winning money are activated when teenagers see large numbers of “likes” on their own photos or the photos of peers in a social network.
But that’s not all, there are countless studies implicating the effects of Social Media on both society, and on children, however, corporations like Facebook, Google, and Twitter exploit this for profit, billions of times a day.
Social Media has become an intricate part of our society, so much so, that the very way we interact with each other is beginning to change. The warnings and statements by those formerly involved with Facebook without a doubt prove a need for change in how we interact with technology, before we as a whole, as stated by Chamath Palihapitiya, are programmed.
Allison Abrams. “Mental Health and the Effects of Social Media.” Psychology Today. . (2017): . .
The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. “Does Social Media Harm Kids?” Psychology Today. . (2016): . .
APS. “Social Media ‘Likes’ Impact Teens’ Brains and Behavior.” Association For Psychological Science. . (2016): . .
Erik Sass. “Social Media Makes Users Feel Ugly, Inadequate.” Media Post. . (2014): . .