ShareThis Page

Facebook exploits 'vulnerability' in psychology, founding president says

Aaron Aupperlee
| Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, 12:30 p.m.
Sean Parker (Photo by Getty Images)
Sean Parker (Photo by Getty Images)

It's no accident that you may feel addicted to Facebook and other social networks.

They are designed that way, Facebook's founding president Sean Parker told reporters for the website Axios.com .

Parker — played by Justin Timberlake in the film about Facebook's founding, "The Social Network" — spoke Wednesday at an Axios event in Philadelphia. He said social networks are designed to exploit a "vulnerability in human psychology" that keeps us coming back for more.

"[We] understood this consciously. And we did it anyway," Parker said.

Watch Sean Parker's comments on Axios.com .

Likes and comments on photos and posts were intended to give us little dopamine hits to keep up coming back, Parker said.

At 19, Parker cofounded Napster. Five years later, he was heading Facebook. Parker, 38, now chairs the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy that he founded.

He is worth an estimated $2.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Parker apparently joked that Zuckerberg would probably block his Facebook account after reading his comments to Axios. He called himself "something of a conscientious objector" on social media and expressed concern about what it is doing to us and our children.

"It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. ... It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains," Parker said.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.