RUSH: You know, I got to thinking about it. I say so much, the amount of content disseminated every hour on this program, it’s even tough for me to remember it all. You know, I’ll say something on X day, and two weeks later, a story will happen, and I will remember I predicted it, and I wonder how many of you in the audience remember. I’ll never know.
So when Sean Parker said what he said yesterday, I wondered how many people remember I predicted this very thing. I worried about the same thing he’s admitting to now. I wonder how many did. And that’s why I go back in time to the Grooveyard of Forgotten Sound Bites to remind you, because it’s difficult to remember everything you hear, much less everything you read.
RUSH: Sean Parker. Do you know who Sean Parker is? Does his name ring a bell? Sean Parker, Napster. Napster was eventually shut down. It was a site where you could basically download any song you wanted without paying for it. This naturally upset the music industry. But Sean Parker became a hero. He was offering Millennials and young people things for nothing! They loved him. And he was instrumental in the founding of Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg sought out Sean Parker and his advice on various things, and Sean Parker was one of the founding members of Facebook, until he wasn’t, ’til he decided to quit, for a host of reasons. And now Sean Parker, who has always had his hands and feet in innovative tech, has now started something new in his life about discovering, diagnosing cancer and autoimmune diseases as well. But he has now come out and has openly criticized Facebook and other social media, saying God knows what it is doing to our children. God knows.
And he said: We knew that it was manipulative. We knew that people using it were vulnerable. We knew that we were devising little psychological ploys to keep people watching and reading and clicking and logging in. We knew exactly what we were doing to people to create this massive audience that never left us.
And now he has seen the light and understands how destructive, potentially so, all of this is. And let’s go audio sound bite number 2. Axios founder and executive editor Mike Allen talked to Sean Parker. They’re talking about the early days and development of social media, which, in Sean Parker’s case, was Facebook.
RUSH: They knew what this was doing. By the way, what he’s talking about here, the social validation feedback loop, the liking or commenting on a photo or a post and then exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. They knew exactly what they were doing. What they were trading off or playing off of was that they know that everybody wants to be famous, that everybody wants to have meaning, and everybody wants to have a large audience. And they were giving people a way to pretend that they mattered, a way to pretend that they were important and big, a way to pretend that they had gobs and gobs of followers. They were exploiting people’s weaknesses. This is what I have always feared from this stuff. So I want to go back to 2013, May, on this program and re-listen to just one of the many episodes in which I detailed my concerns.
RUSH ARCHIVE: One of the most dangerous things about all this is not just this quest for fame and the giving up of all privacy. Add to this that most kids are insecure, and then add another human characteristic, and it is this: The grass always looks greener. Everybody. I don’t care who you are, you always think everybody else is happier. Everybody else is more normal. Everybody else doesn’t have the problems you do. It’s just a natural thing to think. A lot of people think this way. And when you start reading social media or watching television shows and you see depictions of people in certain ways, and you know that that doesn’t in any way depict you? Then what does that make you feel like if you’re not emotionally secure?
You’ve got this wild collection of insecurity and kids reading all this. In addition to the complex they could develop, because they think they’re missing out on all this cool stuff, that creates its own set of problems. Either depression or a madcap desire to catch up and experience all these things that they think are cool, that people really aren’t doing but they think they are. The sheer volume of all this stuff that they can expose themselves to could be overwhelming. I’ve always had a bad feeling about it.
And so you’re looking at people post things and they look like they’re just having the greatest time, they’ve got all these friends, and their lives seem to be full from the moment they get up ’til they go to bed, and you look at yours, and what are you? You’re in your pajamas reading about all this. So you start lying because you’re feeling insecure and inferior. So you look for signs to make it look like you’ve got followers and you can be famous and you’re just as cool and just as hip. But the problem is that most people, not everybody, but most people are lying about themselves on these sites anyway. Most people do not have the full morning-to-night lives that they are depicting.
They want to. Everybody does. Everybody wants to have that life where you get to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, where money isn’t an obstacle or a problem, and that everybody loves you and that you’re a big object of attention. Well, on social media, everybody is free to create that very profile of themselves. But it’s seldom anywhere near true of anybody.
And so it creates this, as Sean Parker called it, he said this endless loop, a vulnerability in human psychology, little dopamine and little, you know, like or dislike or love photos or stories that you post. And it interferes with productivity, and he says God knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.
You look at some profile on Facebook or a series of them, and there’s pictures from a vacation spot in Hawaii, then there’s Nicaragua, there’s skiing wherever. “Man, this is so cool,” and you start lying on your own posts about things you’re doing. It creates unhealthy desires, unhealthy psychological — and then you add the quest for fame into this, and I have thought this was a recipe for, if not disaster, for a serious problem down the road of people not knowing what reality is. And not being able to judge reality and falling for all kinds of lies and come-ons. And I think we are seeing these kind of things much more exaggerated than it’s been in the past.