Facebook on Tuesday rejected claims by former executive Chamath Palihapitiya that the social media site is “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”
Palihapitiya has repeatedly criticized social media in general, saying it preys on human vulnerabilities and that he doesn’t allow his children to use it. But the Social Capital founder turned his comments to his former employer specifically in recent days, including Tuesday morning on CNBC.
Facebook hit back noting Palihapitiya hasn’t worked for the company for six years, and it said it has undergone changes since.
Here’s the full statement:
Chamath has not been at Facebook for over six years. When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world. Facebook was a very different company back then and as we have grown we have realised how our responsibilities have grown too. We take our role very seriously and we are working hard to improve. We’ve done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service on well-being, and we’re using it to inform our product development. We are also making significant investments more in people, technology and processes, and – as Mark Zuckerberg said on the last earnings call – we are willing to reduce our profitability to make sure the right investments are made.
While Palihapitiya didn’t specifically call out Facebook by name on CNBC, he’s made pointed criticism several times recently about how damaging social media has been to U.S. society — and has specifically said he feels “tremendous guilt” about what he helped bring into existence.
Social media exploits “our own natural tendencies in human beings to get and want feedback,” he said on CNBC. “How do we live in a world where that is now possible?” he asked.
He also made it clear he was not attacking Facebook directly.
“I owe those guys everything,” he said. “They made me.”