Facebook is huge and has more than 2 billion users, so it is not surprising to think that it greatly influences the life of the almost whole world. A former social network executive believes that this influence is far from positive – and he is not the first ex-Facebook to criticize the transformations caused by the company in society.
Chamath Palihapitiya joined Facebook in 2007 and helped build Mark Zuckerberg’s empire as the vice president of user growth. Palihapitiya left the company in 2011 and believes that in the next six years, Facebook’s growth has become a problem for society.
“I think we’ve created tools that are destroying the social fabric of how society works,” he assailed in a lecture for students at Stanford University. Palihapitiya does not specifically refer to cases like the Russian ads that influenced the US presidential election, nor even how false news spreads easily through the social network.
His criticism focuses on the way Facebook works – the constant search for tanned people to feel good about. “There are no civilian speeches, there is no cooperation, there is disinformation, and that is not an American problem – it is not about Russian ads, it is a global problem,” he continued.
Palihapitiya sees Facebook as a good tool for malicious people who can use it to manipulate public opinion. He says his kids are not allowed to join the social network.
Facebook was not the only target of the executive, who also criticized Silicon Valley as a whole. He believes that investors throw money at “idiotic and worthless companies” and overlook real world issues such as health and climate change.
It is not the first time that a former Facebook employee criticizes the excessive power that the social network has built over the years. A former Facebook product manager, Antonio Garcia-Martinez, wrote a book explaining how Facebook minds about the ability to influence people based on the data collected on it. Investor Sean Parker recently said that Facebook “explores a vulnerability in human psychology,” and so gained so much strength.