Tags: Facebook | bigtobacco | addiction

Facebook Targeted Teens Using 'Big Tobacco's Playbook' Says Former Exec

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By    |   Friday, 25 September 2020 06:19 PM

The strategy by Facebook to subtly add features to its platform that encouraged addiction took “a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook,” according to former Facebook executive Tim Kendall.

“At Facebook, I believe we sought to mine as much human attention as possible, and turned it into historically unprecedented profits,” Kendall, Facebook's former director of monetization, said during a Thursday testimony before a House panel. “To do this, we didn’t simply create something useful and fun. We took a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook, working to make our offering addictive at the outset.”

During an interview on CNN, Kendall went on to talk about Facebook's method of monetizing its platform by addicting its users.

“I think when we look back at tobacco, it probably wasn’t obvious, in 1930 and 1940, when they were putting the additives in, you know, each decade, and making the cigarette more and more addictive, exactly what was happening,” Kendall told CNN. “But now that we look back on it, we just see this arc of addiction. And my concern is that I think that we’re seeing the exact same thing with Facebook. I think it started with a small set of features that got put into the service 12, 13 years ago. Status updates, the sorts of things that allowed for popularity and comparison, the things that are creating all these teenage mental health issues.”

Kendall talked before the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel to investigate whether tech companies Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google parent Alphabet have engaged in anti-competitive operations.

The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Justice and Congress are all looking into antitrust allegations associated with these companies.

“We’re at a stage where divisiveness and much more toxic additives are being added to the service, and it’s good for business,” Kendall said. “I don’t think it’s going to stop, unless, you know, they’re — they’re forced to stop it. I just have a lot of concerns and a lot of anxiety about it.”

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The strategy by Facebook to subtly add features to its platform that encouraged addiction took "a page from Big Tobacco's playbook," according to former Facebook executive Tim Kendall."...
Facebook, bigtobacco, addiction
Friday, 25 September 2020 06:19 PM
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