This former exec helped build Facebook - now he says it's ripping society apart

Lynsey Barber
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Facebook might not be all good, realises former executive Chamath Palihapitiya (Source: Getty)

A former tech executive who helped build Facebook into the titan it is today has revealed that he feels "tremendous" guilt about the social network "ripping apart society".

Chamath Palihapitiya, who was one of the social network's early employees and made millions from its success, spoke out against the tech firm in a candid interview at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

"I feel tremendous guilt. I think we all knew in the back of our minds, even though we feigned this whole line of 'there probably aren't any really bad unintended consequences'. I think in the 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," he said.

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"It literally is at a point now where I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works," he said.

"That is truly where we are," said the now chief executive of a venture capital firm in a stark warning.

"... I would encourage you as the future leaders of the world to really internalise how important this is. If you feed the beast, the beast will destroy you. If you push back on it, we have a chance to control it and rein it in," he said, recommending people ditch social networks as well as greater control over them.

It is a point in time when people need to hard break from some of these tools and the things that you rely on. The short term dopamine driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.

No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth. And it's not just an American problem, this is not about Russian 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 we behave by and between each other.

"I don't use this shit," he said, revealing that he has not used Facebook "for years". "I've posted maybe two times in seven years, three, maybe five, it's less than 10."

His views come in stark contrast to Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has insisted the technology is good despite issues such as fake news, Russian meddling and other existential troubles.

Facebook and other Silicon Valley tech giants have built their reputations, global audiences and huge valuations on the back of the idea of "disruption". However, 2017 has seen a backlash against the industry and the raising of questions about the impact of technology.

Watch Palihapitiya's interview in full below and his comments on the danger of tech from 21.20 onwards.

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