Chamath Palihapitiya, former Facebook vice president for user growth, isn’t the only one who believes his former employer is ripping apart the fabric of society.
Palihapitiya triggered an unexpectedly intense backlash after revealing that he feels “tremendous guilt” for his role in building the social media giant, warning that, if you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you…”
“I feel tremendous guilt.”
“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are.”
“I would encourage all of you, as the future leaders of the world, to really internalize how important this is. If you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you. If you push back on it you have a chance to control it and reign it in.”
“There is a point in time when people need a hard break from some of these tools.”
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works. 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.”
“So, we’re in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”
“And, I don’t have a good solution. You know, my solution is I just don’t use these tools anymore. I ahven’t for years. It’s created huge tension with my friends. Huge tensions in my social circles.”
…He later walked his comments back after twitter users suggested that he maybe donate some of the money he made off the enterprise to a worthy cause.
And now, shortly after it published reports about a survey showing 10% of US Facebook users deleted their accounts in the wake of the company’s latest data-privacy scandal, Recode is back with another scathing story about Facebook’s public identity crisis.
Tavis McGinn, Mark Zuckerberg’s former personal pollster, conducted a survey that exposes just how reviled Facebook is in many parts of the world. Indeed, up to 33% of responds in Australia, Canada and the UK say Facebook is having a “negative impact on society.”
Americans have a similarly negative perception of FB, with just 32% (about 54 million people) of the population also believing that Facebook has a negative impact. For context, that makes Facebook more popular than Marlboro cigarettes, but worse than McDonald’s.
In fact, the only countries where distrust in Facebook was relatively low were countries like Japan, where few people use Facebook.
McGinn, who recently opened his own polling firm after leaving Facebook after six months, said he didn’t ask what, specifically, these negative impacts might be – but he says he has an idea.
“In the U.S. obviously we’re very focused on election interference, and in the U.K. they’ve been focused on that as well with Brexit,” McGinn told Recode. “But there are also things like, ‘how does it affect children, how does the platform create addiction, how does the platform encourage extremism, how does the platform push American values onto other countries?’”
There’s also the issue of Facebook’s data policies, which McGinn, who spent three years at Google, says are a result of Facebook’s DNA.
“The culture has always been focused on driving usage, on getting more people to use and how to get them to spend longer on the platform,” he said. “It influences every decision, large and small.”
And here’s the kicker: McGinn conducted his poll in January and February. Which means that, judging by the decline in user engagement – which had already been on the decline before the Cambridge Analytica scandal – negative perceptions of the company have probably worsened.