Reality Behind the Claims of Social Media Addiction

Can't log out of your Facebook account? Can't stop checking the new Snapchat filters? The tweets won't stop coming? Yes, you're addicted to the social media. And no, it's not because you're any less stronger than the average person.

The “Panorama” documentary of BBC claims that these social media giants form these apps as perfectly addictive so that once you’ve picked your phone in your hands, it'll stay there for a considerable period of time.

From the vibrant backgrounds to an irresistible “like” button, every single detail is thoroughly monitored by thousands of engineers. Every aspect of this forum is made so that the users are absolutely hooked to the site.

Facebook, however, is working with third parties to make sure whether this addictive behavior is hurting its users or not.

Aza Raskin, who invented the feature that lets you scroll indefinitely on any website said: "It's as if they're taking behavioral cocaine and just sprinkling it all over your interface. And that's the thing that keeps you like coming back and back and back."

The former Jawbone and Mozilla executive claimed that these companies are testing people and making sure that every feature is a way to get them addicted to the site. He said "Behind every screen on your phone, there are generally like literally a thousand (User experience) engineers that have worked on this thing to try to make it maximally addicting," he said.

Leah Pearlman, co-inventor of Facebook’s “like” button said that she herself got addicted. "When I need validation — I go to check Facebook," she said.

Former Facebook engineer, Sandy Parakilas has been extremely critical of its approach and claims that these giants knew full well that these sites promoted addictive behavior.

"There was definitely an awareness of the fact that the product was habit-forming and addictive," he said. "You have a business model designed to engage you and get you to basically suck as much time out of your life as possible and then selling that attention to advertisers.

He’s not the first Facebook employee to say that they intentionally promoted addictive behaviors. A former president Sean Parker also claimed that the site was "exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology."

Ime Archibong, current vice president of product partnership clarified these claims by saying that they're looking for ways in which these addictive behaviors may hurt the users. "We're working with third-party folks that are looking at habit-forming behaviors — whether it's on our platform or the internet writ large — and trying to understanding if there are elements that we do believe are bringing harm to people," he said. "So that we can shore those up and we can invest in making sure those folks are safe over time."

However, these allegations may be true or not, people are skeptical yet quite deeply involved with these social media forums


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