Hundreds of millions of Facebook users feigned a slight shrug yesterday as Facebook co-founder Sean Parker admitted that he and Mark Zuckerberg designed the site to exploit a “vulnerability in human psychology.” Before even getting to the juicy part where Sean insinuated that Facebook was like an addictive drug that “give[s] you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever”, most people had already gone back to browsing Facebook and anxiously watching their Like counts.
And this is exactly what Facebook was designed to do: to “consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible,” Sean added.
As with Frankenstein and his monster, Sean said they knew very well that they were developing an entirely new paradigm for human society, based mostly around physical isolation, crippling envy, and stale memes. But even more powerful than old memes is the way the website feeds on our basic human need for social validation. Once you’ve received a few likes, you’re hooked; only gaining more will satisfy your thirst.
Sean suggests that even the most stalwart among us cannot resist Facebook’s seduction forever. You can run but you cannot hide. “When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’ And then they would say, ‘No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, … ‘We’ll get you eventually.'”
I’d go on about how Facebook, Twitter, and nearly every app you’ve ever downloaded is constantly collecting information about you to sell to advertisers… how privacy essentially no longer exists… but you’re probably already busy checking Facebook again.