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Facebook was designed to be addictive

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Facebook was designed to be addictive

Post Neon Knight on Thu 16 Nov - 18:12

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2017/11/facebook_was_designed_to_be_addictive_does_that_make_it_evil.html  Highlights:

Are Facebook and other social media companies intentionally exploiting people’s psychological vulnerabilities to keep them addicted? You bet, says Sean Parker, who made a fortune as an early Facebook investor and its first president.

“The thought process was all about, ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’,” he said. “And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever, and that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you more likes and comments. It’s a social validation feedback loop. … You’re exploiting a vulnerabilty in human psychology.”

At the same time that Facebook was taking flak from Parker for its addictive qualities, another Silicon Valley startup was provoking similar criticisms. TechCrunch this week profiled a company founded by a neuropsychologist and a neuroeconomist with the goal of using machine learning to make other companies’ apps more, well, addictive. The startup’s name, aptly enough: Dopamine Labs. (It was also featured in an April episode of CBS’ 60 Minutes on the theme of “brain hacking.”)

Per TechCrunch’s story, Dopamine Labs has built a software program called Skinner—yes, it’s named after the behaviorist psychologist B.F. Skinner—that monitors an app’s various prompts and notifications and how users respond to them. The goal is to help companies tweak those features to make them maximally sticky. The company claims its service can add an average of 10 percent to the revenues of the startups that use it. “If all of that sounds creepy,” writes TechCrunch’s Jonathan Shieber, “don’t worry, it is.”

It’s easy to moralize about companies making their products addictive on purpose. And it really is refreshing when you hear of someone like Dong Nguyen, the Vietnamese game designer who pulled his viral hit Flappy Bird from app stores out of concern for its users’ time and well-being.

But we should be careful about conflating “addictive” apps or games with more destructive forms of addiction, such as substance abuse. Lots of activities can be addictive, colloquially speaking, without substantially impacting the players’ relationships, career, or physical health. While they may be analogous in certain respects, there’s plenty of moral daylight between running a tobacco company and designing a harmless app in a way that keeps people checking in a few times each day. That’s why a lot of mental health experts don’t consider “smartphone addiction” to be a useful medical diagnosis.

We should all be more aware that companies are using our own psychological vulnerabilities against us because it helps us to be on our guard against overuse. But it’s unrealistic, in our current capitalist environment, to expect Internet companies not to be working hard to insinuate their products into our lives in one way or another. That, for better or worse, is simply the prevailing business model for online media. And with free services that sell us to advertisers as their real product, it is part of the bargain we have so far accepted.

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The vision never dies, life's a never ending wheel
- R.J.Dio
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Neon Knight
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Re: Facebook was designed to be addictive

Post Neon Knight on Sat 18 Nov - 11:34

Facebook engineer who created the 'Like' button ... says notifications are taking over people's lives

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4955302/Creator-Facebook-Like-bans-using-apps.html

* Justin Rosenstein was part of a team in 2007 that developed the iconic feature
* He believes social media and the lure of notifications is as addictive as heroin
* He set up parental controls that ban him from downloading apps to his phone
* The software engineer believes social media could lead to a future 'dystopia'
* People will be permanently distracted by devices from the world around them

He argues that the solution to the problem may be state regulation of apps, which he views on a par with tobacco advertising, to minimise any harm they may be found to cause.

Speaking to The Guardian, he said: 'It is very common for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences. Everyone is distracted, all of the time. One reason I think it is particularly important for us to talk about this now is that we may be the last generation that can remember life before. If we only care about profit maximisation, we will go rapidly into dystopia.'





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Between the velvet lies, there's a truth that's hard as steel
The vision never dies, life's a never ending wheel
- R.J.Dio
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Neon Knight
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Re: Facebook was designed to be addictive

Post Magyar Lány on Sun 19 Nov - 0:25

@Neon Knight wrote:Facebook engineer who created the 'Like' button ... says notifications are taking over people's lives

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4955302/Creator-Facebook-Like-bans-using-apps.html

   * Justin Rosenstein was part of a team in 2007 that developed the iconic feature
   * He believes social media and the lure of notifications is as addictive as heroin
   * He set up parental controls that ban him from downloading apps to his phone
   * The software engineer believes social media could lead to a future 'dystopia'
   * People will be permanently distracted by devices from the world around them

He argues that the solution to the problem may be state regulation of apps, which he views on a par with tobacco advertising, to minimise any harm they may be found to cause.

Speaking to The Guardian, he said: 'It is very common for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences. Everyone is distracted, all of the time. One reason I think it is particularly important for us to talk about this now is that we may be the last generation that can remember life before.  If we only care about profit maximisation, we will go rapidly into dystopia.'





I relieved when I closed down my facebook account. It was a great decision.

Magyar Lány
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