Majority of local social media users agree it is ripping society apart

Date published: 22 December 2017

Following former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya’s criticisms that social media is ripping apart society, Rochdale Online asked local Facebook users if they agreed with the comments.

The comments, were made at a Stanford Business School event in November, and were first published by tech website the Verge earlier this month.

Mr Palihapitiya, who was Facebook's vice-president for user growth, told the audience, “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works” and urged people to “take a hard break” from social media.

Overall, 65% of our respondents agreed with Mr Palihapitiya’s thoughts.

Steve Sanderson said: “People believe something is true on social media without checking facts.”

Stephanie Richards added: “It stops communication.”

Tony Vose said: “[I agree] because of online bullying and arguments; it is a hunting ground for many undesirable groups.”

Billy Leckie Howarth of Parents Against Grooming UK said: “We know first-hand social media has zero policing. Paedophiles use social media to abuse children on an industrial scale: as many as four a day are being caught by decoys and hunter groups.”

Julian Smith commented: “Most sensible people are not on Facebook.”

However, some local users disagreed, feeling that the good points outweighed the bad.

Samuel Amadeus Mitchell said: “The good outweighs the bad."

Ann Arthur said: “It has also been a good tool in getting missing or stolen goods returned, identifying criminals, highlighting poverty, exposing the good, the bad and the ugly. It is swings and roundabouts.”

Clive Maynock said: “No, I do not think it is. We now have a voice; a way to express our views.”

Mark Carter said: “It has its good and bad points.

“Facebook has also helped reunite long-lost friends, family members and pets over the years so I think it depends on what view you look at it.”

Matt Hardy concluded: “Ripping apart society is perhaps a bit strong, but like anything, it has its good sides and its bad. In the wrong hands, it can – and has been – dangerous.

Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker – who no longer has ties to the company – subsequently accused the social media service of using methods that “exploit” human psychology.

Parker said the goal in the early days of Facebook was to find ways to take up as much of a user’s time and attention as possible. This development model, Parker claims, created an addictive system to keep people on Facebook for long periods to seek 'likes' and comments from others to make them feel good.

Facebook iself has released new research suggesting social media can harm mental health.

The researchers said some people become depressed by looking at social media profiles and posts of others and then making negative comparisons to themselves.

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