Earlier this week, comments from a panel with former Facebook executive came to light, heavily criticizing the social network for how it has changed everyday life.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” said Chamath Palihapitiya in a Stanford Graduate School of Business talk in November. Palihapitiya, who currently runs his own venture capital firm, Social Capital, originally joined the company in 2007 and served as its vice president for user growth.
Moreover, he said that he believed that those working at the company “kind of knew something bad could happen” over the Facebook’s increasing prevalence in everyday life.
Interestingly, Facebook has responded with a statement that doesn’t outright challenge Palihapitiya’s criticisms. Instead, the company says it has changed its whole ethos since Palihapitiya last worked there.
“Chamath has not been at Facebook for over 6 years. When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world. Facebook was a very different company back then, and as we have grown, we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too. We take our role very seriously and we are working hard to improve. We’ve done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service on well-being, and we’re using it to inform our product development. We are also making significant investments more in people, technology and processes, and — as Mark Zuckerberg said on the last earnings call — we are willing to reduce our profitability to make sure the right investments are made.”
Palihapitiya also conceded that Facebook has taken significant strides to improving its impact on society. praising. “I think they have done more than any other company to try to fix it,” he said.
“Frankly, I was able to be a part of a company that did something really wonderful, and they’re going to — they’re going to do more to fix this stuff than anybody else.”