Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff believes social media should be treated like a health issue, similar to the use of tobacco or sugar.
In a recent interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the executive said his industry (technology) is the same as any other industry. Financial services, consumer product goods, food – in technology, the government’s going to have to be involved. There is already some regulation, he noted, but there probably will have to be more.
“I think that you do it exactly the same way that you regulated the cigarette industry. Here’s a product: Cigarettes. They’re addictive, they’re not good for you,” Benioff said. “I think that for sure, technology has addictive qualities that we have to address, and that product designers are working to make those products more addictive and we need to rein that back.”
Benioff isn’t the first to publicly bash social media.
During an interview at the Stanford Graduate School of Business last December, Chamath Palihapitiya, former vice president of user growth at Facebook, said he feels “tremendous guilt” for his participation in helping Facebook grow to what it is today.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”
Napster co-founder and Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker, said a month earlier that social media literally changes people’s relationship with society and each other. “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” he added.
Earlier this month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made it his personal challenge to “fix” many of the important issues facing the social network, specifically mentioning “making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent.”
Second image via Getty Images