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Image courtesy of: Anton Deloy

Social Media Is The New Smoking, And You Are Addicted

How many packs of “likes” are you chaining per day?

“It’s not hard for me to imagine that in 20 years from now we find that what social media does to our brains is equivalent to what smoking does to our lungs”. — Yancey Strickler - Kickstarter’s CEO

Social media is known for having complex algorithms to capture and manipulate our consumption, maximizing the higher amount of engagement possible. There is even a term for this in Silicon Valley: Brain Hacking. Tristan Harris, the former Google design ethicist says that is like having a “slot machine in your pocket”. Just like in the gambling business, social media companies use intermittent variable rewards to get their users hooked. “Apps and websites sprinkle intermittent variable rewards all over their products because it’s “good for business” as Mr. Harris states in his article “How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind

One doesn’t exist until one is acknowledged on social media.

The evidence is out there, and in front of our eyes, we cannot ignore it anymore — like we did with smoking back in the day. Silicon Valley faces a crucial imperative to tell the public about their morally questionable practices they have —unfortunately—learned from the tobacco industry, which is, setting an addiction that is extremely good for business. Like big tobacco did, companies like Facebook are already targeting children, as future consumers, and there is something deeply disturbing about this.

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