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SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION WHO KNEW? THE FOUNDERS – THAT’S WHO

January 16, 2018 638 29 No Comments

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SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION
WHO KNEW? ​​ THE FOUNDERS – THAT’S WHO

Debbie Hancock
2017 December 28


  • “The people will not revolt. ​​ They will not look up from their screens long enough to know what’s happening.” ​​ George Orwell – (11)

  • Facebook founders knew they were creating something addictive that exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology” according to its founding president, Sean Parker. (1)

  • Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. (6)

  • According to recent brain imaging studies, severely affected internet addicts show structural and functional brain abnormalities similar to those found in people with substance abuse problems. (4)

  • The founders of Facebook are now billionaires who knew their product would probably be addictive and could actually rewire the brain but “we did it anyway” said Sean Parker. (10)

  • “God only know what it’s doing to our children’s brains” Sean Parker – (8)





2004,​​ February

  • 2004 February – Mark Zuckerberg starts Facebook as a sophomore at Harvard University. (7)

  • 2004 September – Facebook becomes the target of a lawsuit claiming that Zuckerberg​​ stole the idea from a social network company involving 3 other people. (7)

  • 2005 - Sean Parker, the president, is arrested for possession of cocaine which rattled investors, and he resigned shortly after that but not before his bank account climbed to $2.6 billion amassed in the short time he was there.

  • 2008 – Facebook hires Sheryl Sandberg, a savvy high profile executive at Google, as chief operating officer. (7)

  • 2009 August – Facebook introduces “Like” allowing people to endorse other people’s posts and creating a “little dopamine hit” to encourage them to upload more content. (1)

  • 2011 December – Facebook moves to Menio Park, CA where their address is 1 Hacker Way. (7)

  • 2012 October – Facebook has 1 billion active users and potential addicts.

  • 2017 October – Former Google techie, Tristan Harris, expresses his regret over the technologies he helped develop. (1)

  • 2017 November 09 – In an interview Sean Parker admits that they knew ​​ but disregarded issues their product could cause such as addiction and psychological damage. ​​ “A network that grows to over 2 billion users changes relationship with society – it probably interferes with productivity in weird ways.” (1)





When George Orwell wrote the novel “1984” in 1949, he said in the book “The people will not revolt. ​​ They will not look up from their screens long enough to know what’s happening.” ​​ George Orwell – (11) this is exactly the world we now live in thanks to some genius developers of social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter who knew their product would become an addictive road to travel for millions of people. ​​ Their intent was to create a product that would consume as much time and conscious attention as it could. (1)

It has been suggested that in many ways the addiction to Facebook and the founders knowledge of that beforehand, is very similar to the tobacco companies and their knowledge about the products they introduced. ​​ Congress called in R. J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris to testify about their previous knowledge regarding the addictive and carcinogenic side effects of tobacco. ​​ Ultimately, these companies paid out huge sums of money over the issue. ​​ Should the same​​ thing take place with the founders of Facebook?  ​​​​ Should they be called before Congress just as Big Tobacco was? ​​ Of course! (8)

A “like” on Facebook was described by Sean Parker, one of the founding fathers, as a “dopamine hit.” It has been described as having the same effect as love in the brain by activating the chemical dopamine which is a feel good hormone in the reward center of the brain that produces an intense feeling of euphoria. Lady Susan Greenfield from the University of Oxford says that over-using social networks could shorten the attention span, encourage instant gratification and cause a​​ loss of empathy. (13)

Statistics are so alarming that a psychologist has introduced a new term, FAD or Facebook Addiction Disorder, to describe this condition which is described as hours spent on Facebook, so much time that it affects a healthy balance of an individual’s life. (12) ​​ Some, but not all, of the statistics state that if compared to the size of a country, Twitter would be the 12th largest in the world. ​​ Facebook dominates the market with a 63% market penetration.  ​​​​ Three to five hours is spent on social media for the age group 15-19. ​​ The most popular place that young users check their feeds is in bed while 55% of youth check their site on a mobile devices versus a desktop or a laptop. ​​ This addiction manifests itself in the work place as well.  ​​​​ The average person spends at least 24% of their work day “cyber loafing” while 60 -80% of people’s time on the internet at work has nothing to do with work. ​​ Business owners who are paying for 100% of an employee’s time are getting about 75% of their time. (5)

When Sean Parker made the comment “God knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains”, he was right as it has been discovered that 4 out of 5 students experience negative side effects if they feel disconnected from technology for one day leading to the assumption that students cannot go without social media for 24 hours. ​​ Mark Zuckerberg and his founding friends have led to the production of a generation of a new kind of addicts. ​​ These are the people who will lead our country in the years to come. (5) ​​ “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.” – George Orwell.

All ages are engaged in social media, but the group who is being harmed the most is the youth of this country. ​​ Their addiction to Facebook and Twitter is actually rewiring their brains as stated by Sean Parker. ​​ The trickle down effects of addiction to these programs is causing a lack of personal relationships and an inability for some people to interact in person. ​​ Social skills are decreasing and depression is increasing as people compare themselves to what they see on Facebook.  ​​​​ Narcissism and depression are living in the same minds of young and old alike. ​​ Tristan Harris, one of the founders of Google, stated that “All of us are jacked into this system. ​​ All of our minds can be hijacked. ​​ Our choices are not as free as we think they are.”


​​ 

Helping educate our members understand the bigger picture.

  • The dopamine rush of social media engagement that distracts us is suspected of playing a role in the increase in auto accident deaths.​​ FEMA has distributed more than $125 million

  • Teenage suicide rates have increased for all ages except older adults, and the rates for girls are at an all-time high in the last 40 years. (14)

  • A study conducted by Psychology Today showed that the urge to stay on top of one’s online social networks was the most difficult addiction to resist – quitting Facebook and Twitter is more difficult than quitting smoking or drinking for some. (2)

  • The founders of Facebook kept secret their knowledge of the addictive nature of their product until Sean Parker came clean in November of 2017.

  • As far back as 2012, a study posted on the National Institutes of Health website said that internet addiction ruins lives by causing neurological complications, psychological disturbances and social problems. (4)

  • If 1,000 employees spent one hour each day on social media, the company they work for could lose as much as $35 million a year.



1. ​​ Olivia Solon, The Guardian, “Ex Facebook President, Sean Parker: Site made to exploit human vulnerability, 2017 November 09
​​ 
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/09/facebook-sean-parker-vulnerability-brain-psychology

2. ​​ Michael Austin, Psychology Today, Facebook Addiction? ​​ Is Facebook harder to quit than smoking? ​​ 2012 February 20

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ethics-everyone/201202/facebook-addiction

3. ​​ Carianne King, Social Media Today, “Social Media Addiction Statistics, 2015 July

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/carianneking/2015-06-26/social-media-addiction-statistics-infographic

4. ​​ CBS News, “How Real Is social media addiction?

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-real-a-risk-is-social-media-addiction/

5. ​​ Brandon Gaille, Brandongaille.com blog,”29 Social Networking Addiction Statistics”

https://brandongaille.com/28-social-networking-addiction-statistics/

6. ​​ Wikipedia, Definition of Addiction
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addiction

7. ​​ Associated Press, Phys.org, Timeline: ​​ “Key dates in Facebook’s History,” 2014 February 02

https://phys.org/news/2014-02-timeline-key-dates-facebook-year.html

8. ​​ Tucker Carlson, Fox News, “Will Congress Treat Facebook founders like the tobacco companies?” 2017 November 10
http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/11/09/tucker-carlson-will-congress-treat-facebook-social-media-dangers-tobacco-companies

9. ​​ Keely Sharp, Eagle Rising, “Facebook Investor Admits Psychological Danger of Social M
edia”,​​ https://eaglerising.com/48559/early-facebook-investor-admits-psychological-danger-of-social-media/

10. ​​ Tom Kaz, Stripersonline, Facebook founder Parker on Facebook addiction known from the start, 2017 November 20

http://www.stripersonline.com/surftalk/topic/710896-facebook-founder-parker-on-fb-addiction-known-from-start/

11. ​​ George Orwell, goodreads.com, “George Orwell Quotes”

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/3706.George_Orwell

12. ​​ Amy Summers, Ad Week, Facebook Addiction Disorder – 6 Symptoms of F. A. D.

http://www.adweek.com/digital/facebook-addiction-disorder-the-6-symptoms-of-f-a-d/

13. ​​ Claire Bates, Dailey Mail, “Facebook is good for you”, 2012 February 08

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2098333/Facebook-GOOD-Social-networks-relax-heart-rate-trigger-natural-high.html

14. ​​ Jericka Duncan, CBS News, Smart phone cyber bullying seen as possible causes of rising teen suicide rate, 2017 August 04

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/smartphones-cyberbullying-targeted-as-causes-of-skyrocketing-teen-suicide-rate/


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To track​​ read more about social media addiction, visit:
http://www.adweek.com/digital/social-media-addiction-stats/

 

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Story inspired by:

1. ​​ Olivia Solon, The Guardian, “Ex Facebook President, Sean Parker: Site made to exploit human vulnerability, 2017 November 09
​​ 
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/09/facebook-sean-parker-vulnerability-brain-psychology

Point:

Facebook is taking over the world it seems. ​​ Everyone wanting to fit in from children to educated business people to grandparents are participating in the phenomenon just as its founders hoped they would. ​​ The founders, who ignored their own instincts about what kind of addiction problems it would cause, went on to make billions of dollars while as many as 350 million people are suffering from a Facebook Addiction Disorder according to one psychologist. (12)

Facebook founders essentially knew they were producing a product that could be addictive, knew the addictive nature could have negative consequences for users, knew that it might actually rewire the brains, especially in children, hid these concerns from the public, got large segments of the population to become daily users, continued to hide these concerns even as research began to show them to be real and became billionaires in the process. ​​ “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” – George Orwell

CounterPoint :

Facebook and Twitter are both ways to get information out quickly and connect with old friends and colleagues. ​​ Some researchers suggest that Facebook may actually be good for you. ​​ Researchers have found that social networks can spark a natural high leading to a lower heart rate and lower levels of stress and tension. ​​ While it seems like a solitary activity, the interaction with others has a positive effect on the body and mind according to joint American and Italian researchers. ​​ Like anything else, it has good points and uses but an addictive nature as well. After all, isn’t that the point of almost every product that is bought on a regular basis? ​​ Companies who sell disposable products all want us to become “addicted” to their products.

Facebook has both good and bad features – it is up to the user to make the best of the technology and minimize the bad effects on people’s lives. ​​ Parents play an important role by paying attention and limiting social media and cell phone usage. ​​ 

13. ​​ Michael Austin, Psychology Today, Facebook Addiction? ​​ Is Facebook harder to quit than smoking? ​​ 2012 February 20
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ethics-everyone/201202/facebook-addiction

14. ​​ Claire Bates, Dailey Mail, “Facebook is good for you”, 2012 February 08
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2098333/Facebook-GOOD-Social-networks-relax-heart-rate-trigger-natural-high.html

Adverse Effects

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