Even the Former Facebook Vice President for user growth has expressed and realized the “drastic effect” of social media to our society.
It is true that platforms like Facebook and Twitter can bring people closer together, but they also have the opposite effect.
Speaking in an event at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Chamath Palihapitiya, the former vice president for user growth at Facebook, has spoken out about social media.
Palihapitiya, has expressed a concern that social media platforms have become “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”
In order to back up his claim, he brought up the example of a WhatsApp hoax campaign in India that led to a string of lynchings. However, new technology is also having more subtle effects on the way that we interact with one another.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” said Palihapitiya, according to a report from The Verge.
Interactions such as ‘liking’ a photograph or ‘favoriting’ a tweet are perhaps more about short-term gratification than the basis for meaningful communication and relationships, the former Facebook executive suggested.
The claim of the ex-VP of Facebook was backed by some educational experts, and said that Palihapitiya’s point is a real issue and an immediate gratification.
“I think that Pallhapitiya points out a very real issue regarding social media and immediate gratification,” said Lizbeth M. Kim, a doctoral candidate in social psychology and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Penn State.
“I view his message as an important reminder of the part of the picture that we may often willfully ignore,” Kim added.
The former Facebook executive emphasized that today’s social media platforms allow for anyone’s message to be heard, amplified, and given credibility. This can allow for anything from small-scale cases of cyberbullying to much broader harassment campaigns to take root.
“While there is increasing public attention placed on the ‘dark side’ of social media, in my work, I’m curious about what happens when people try to use social media platforms for the greater good,” said Kim.
There are distinct differences between the way we interact with one another in person, and the way we communicate online. When we can disassociate the individual from their social media account, it’s easier to mistreat people, ranging from minor misdeeds to more serious transgressions.
“It is difficult to make a singular claim about the effects of social media on modern-day relationships,” said Kim. “As time goes on and more research is done to examine this, I think we will have a more nuanced idea about the specific features and activities built into websites like Facebook that are contributing to these positive and negative outcomes.”