Why Is Refuge Recovery Promoting Use Of "Social" Media Facebook Execs Say Is "Designed To Be Addictive"?

Facebook founder and former execs warn that the platform is “designed to be addictive…”, and “rewiring our brains…”.

According to Sean Parker former president of Facebook…"The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, ... was all about: 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'" "And that means that we need to 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 ... exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.""The inventors, creators — it's me, it's Mark [Zuckerberg], it's Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it's all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway”.

Another former Facebook executive has also spoken out. Chamath Palihapitiya, former Facebook Vice President for user growth, said to an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” and recommended people take a “hard break” from social media. Palihapitiya’s criticisms are serious. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, pointing to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth”.

There is an alternative to social media. Refuge Recovery could make a hard-stop break from Facebook and move to in-person models of organizing. Patterning itself on unions, political parties and it’s predecessors in recovery fellowships. Not allowing debate to take place on social media. Demanding and creating local Intersangha groups, as well as state and regional level organizations, fostering face to face dialogue, civil discourse and democratic decision making in the process.

Should any addiction recovery program be encouraging its members to use “social” media designed to be addictive?


—The American Buddhist