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Take a 'hard break' from Facebook or it will 'destroy you,' former exec says

Aaron Aupperlee
| Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, 11:42 a.m.
Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. CEO, Founder and Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya, left, is applauded by New York Stock Exchange president Tom Farley as he rings a ceremonial bell when his company's stock begins trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. CEO, Founder and Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya, left, is applauded by New York Stock Exchange president Tom Farley as he rings a ceremonial bell when his company's stock begins trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

With the new year right around the corner, it's time to start thinking about resolutions.

And if spending less time on Facebook is one of your goals for 2018, then you've got a supporter in Chamath Palihapitiya.

Palihapitiya was the former vice president for user growth at Facebook, a man whose job it was to get you and your friends hooked.

Now he's asking you to step away.

Palihapitiya, who runs Social Capital, a venture capital firm that funds health care and education companies, recently told a group of Stanford Graduate School of Business students to think hard about what the social network is doing to society and asked them to take a "hard break" from it, according to reporting from The Verge .

"If you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you," Palihapitiya said. "If (you) push back on it, you have a chance to control it and rein it in."

Palihapitiya joins other former Facebookers who are voicing concern about the impact the social network is having. Last month, Sean Parker, a former head of Facebook, said the social network is designed to exploit a vulnerability in human psychology that keeps us coming back for more. Parker said he doesn't use Facebook and worries what it is doing to our children.

Palihapitiya said his kids "aren't allowed to use that (expletive)." He doesn't use it either.

Palihapitiya said the folks that created Facebook knew what they were doing could be bad but pushed those thoughts aside.

"I think in the back deep, deep recesses of our minds we kind of knew something bad could happen, but I think the way we defined it was not like this," Palihapitiya said. "It literally is a point now where I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works."

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

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