In congressional testimony Tuesday afternoon, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Tuesday batted back long-standing fears from social media opponents that his firm and others in Silicon Valley program their products to addict users.
“Do social media companies hire consulting firms to help them figure out how to get more dopamine feedback loops so that people don’t want to leave the platform?” Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, asked.
“No, senator,” Mr. Zuckerberg replied. “That’s not how we talk about this or how we set up our product teams.”
Appearing before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees to explore the massive social networking company’s recent failures protecting private data — the social media mogul defended his firm and stated it always acts responsibly.
“You’re a dad,” Mr. Sasse said to Mr. Zuckerberg, before asking him to share his thoughts on social media’s addictiveness to teenagers.
“This is certainly something that I think any parent thinks about, how much do you want your kids using technology,” Mr. Zuckerberg replied.
SEE ALSO: Zuckerberg admits Silicon Valley an ‘extremely left-leaning place’
“I view our responsibility as not just building services that people like,” he added, “but building services that are good for people and good for society as well.”
Mr. Zuckerberg did, however, admit social media has its bad side.
“Like any tool,” he said, “there are good and bad uses of it. If you’re interacting [with friends], that is associated with the long-term measures of well-being,” he said before adding that those who “passively view content” could feel negative effects.
• Dan Boylan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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