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Facebook Ex-Company Director alleges that the platform is ‘Making Us Sick’

A former director from Facebook has been accusing the social network of profiting from division and misinformation as tobacco companies have from addictive cigarettes.

“We took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook, working to make our offering addictive at the outset,” Tim Kendall, Facebook’s first director of monetization, stated.

During a US congressional hearing on Thursday, he had made the comments and examined whether social media is radicalizing the Americans, resulting in actual violence. Kendal also states that the threat is real, notwithstanding the good intentions the Silicon Valley has initially envisioned for its products.

“I wanted to improve the world we all lived in. Instead, the social media services that I and others have built over the past 15 years have served to tear people apart with alarming speed and intensity,” he said in his organized remarks.

“At the very least, we have eroded our collective understanding —at worst, I fear we are pushing ourselves to the brink of a civil war,” he further added.

Kendall had worked at the company between 2006 to 201o before Facebook became delayed in numerous misinformation and privacy controversies, which ramped up during the 2016 presidential election.

On the other hand, Kendall said that he regrets helping Facebook cultivate a business model that sought to “mine as much attention as humanly possible” returning to the advertising profits.

Furthermore, Kendall says that Facebook has created a system that keeps the users hooked in with “extreme incendiary content,” including misinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news.

“These algorithms have brought out the worst in us. They’ve literally rewired our brains so that we’re detached from reality and immersed in tribalism,” he notes. “This is not by accident. It’s an algorithmically optimized playbook to maximize user attention—and profits.”

However, Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a demand for comment. It will no doubt be disagreeing with Kendall’s assessment. The company has previously said that they are routinely cracking down the rule-breaking posts while trying to maintain free speech on the platform.

Though the social network continues to face accusations, it’s doing too little to stop the misinformation and hate from circulating, especially around the Black Lives Matter protests and the upcoming election.

Kendall’s suggested solution is for US lawmakers to regulate Facebook; he claims that the social network can’t police itself. “Without enforcement, they’re just going to continue to be embarrassed by the mistakes and they’ll talk about empty platitudes, about ‘Oh gee, we hope we can get better operationally next time. ‘But I don’t believe anything systemic will change,” he said.

He has also pointed to loopholes in Facebook’s rules on content moderation, where bad actors can be easily exploited. “Obviously, you can’t incite violence. But you can lie and incite hate. And we all know that leads to violence. There’s no accountability,” he said.

Next, Kendall joins the growing number of former Facebook employees who have publicly protested or expressed concerns about the social network’s effect on society. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” said Facebook’s previous VP of User Growth, Chamath Palihapitiya, in 2017.

In the year 2019, former Facebook co-founder Chris Huges went to call on US regulators to break up the company; he is accusing it of holding a monopoly on the social networking industry. Presently the CEO of Moment, which has published an app to help users limit and manage their screen time with their phone. He has also recently appeared in the new Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” examining the adverse effects of social media.

“These services are making us sick. These services are dividing us,” he added in his organized comments.

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