Facebook created to be addictive

Sean Parker reveals how social media infiltrates our brains.
Sean Parker reveals how social media infiltrates our brains.

FACEBOOK co-founder Sean Parker has sparked controversy after the social network was designed to be addictive.

Parker told Axios that the foundation of the social media site is a "social-validation feedback loop" and that the algorithm subconsciously exploits psychological vulnerabilities.

"Which is exactly the kind of thing a hacker like myself would come up with," he said.

When a user received a like or a comment on a post, the user experienced a "little dopamine hit", which encourages them to want to post again.

Parker said he has now become "something of a conscientious objector" to the rise of social media.

He relayed conversations he had with people in the early days of Facebook when detractors said they hadn't joined the network because they valued real-life interactions, to which he would reply, "We'll get you eventually".

Facebook now has 2.07 billion monthly active users.

Parker said the process behind developing Facebook was figuring out how it can "consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible."

He said the network likely changes your relationship with other people and with society.

"It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains, " he said.

A Pyschological Reports: Disability and Trauma journal from 2015 showed that brains of people who reported compulsive urges to use Facebook have similar brain patterns to those found in drug addicts.

Consumer trend expert Michelle Newton told The Huffington Post: "It's a drug that feeds the ego of the self, the ego of me."

Topics:  facebook social media technology

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