If you were born in the last century- you have heard of Facebook. The social media site has become a staple of daily life. With the amount of users climbing over one billion worldwide, it is safe to say it is wildly popular. Popularity though, has its drawbacks.
Former Facebook founder, Chamath Palihapitiya, isn’t necessarily proud of his achievements at the company. As reported by The Verge, Palihapitiya voices his growing concern with the direction of social interactions on the platform.
“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.
Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”
Facebook was founded in 2004 and initially garnered attention from college students. To sign up you needed a college email and you were able to network with other students from your school or others. Eventually, this platform was opened to everyone and was a place to stay in touch with loved ones to share pictures and silly statuses about mundane aspects of life.
Fast-forward over a decade later, and social media has centered itself around the success of Facebook. The growing popularity, grabbed the attention of companies looking to jump on the this new technological tether. Ad’s are tailored to our preferences and news from around the world is available at our finger tips 24/7. Sounds great, right?
In theory this type of ‘social’ interaction is amazing. In reality, it has fed into the egos, insecurities and the dark side of its user-base. Instant feedback has driven many people to portray themselves to be living an envious life. The quest of perfection has also altered the perspectives of the youth on what is real and attainable in life, off screen.
Users also hide behind a degree of anonymity to spread negativity. Comment sections of highly viewed posts are often a graveyard for positivity. Trolling and bullying has gotten so out of hand on social media that it has been attributed to the decline of mental health among young people. But- big changes are coming.
Shortly after Palihapitiya highlighted the damaging effects of using the platform, a conversation started. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder, has offered up a good faith measure. He said that the company would re-prioritize algorithms to focus on making more meaningful connections for users.
This change may bring back a sense of ‘community’ to the social media empire. Many of the negatives aspects aren’t likely to completely disappear; it is encouraging that Facebook is willing to start somewhere, to make the internet civil again.