Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, is now worried about the ramifications of the social media platform he helped usher into the world.

“I don't know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or two billion people and ... it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,” said Parker. “It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it's doing to our children's brains.”

Parker spoke Wednesday at an event hosted by news site Axios in Philadelphia. The entrepreneur and philanthropist now runs the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, an organization he founded. He said that he has become a “conscientious objector” to social media and is trying to warn people about the dangers of sites like Facebook. 

“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, ... was all about: 'How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'” said Parker.

The site, as originally designed, was meant to get you hooked. 

“That means that we needed to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever ... It's a social validation feedback loop ... You're exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology ... [The inventors] understood this, consciously, and we did it anyway,” said Parker. 

Legislators now too are beginning to grapple with the influence of social media. With A bevy of foreign ads, especially from Russia, Congress is trying to determine what role these sites played in the 2016 presidential election. 

Parker, 37, co-founded music sharing site Napster at 19 and joined on to Facebook at 24. Parker served as president for Facebook from 2004 to 2005, but was pushed out after he was arrested for possession of cocaine, though he was never charged with a crime. He continued to advise Facebook after his ouster.

Parker was played by actor and singer Justin Timberlake in a movie about Facebook, 2010’s “The Social Network.” Parker, however, was upset by his portrayal as a party animal. He called the movie “a complete work of fiction,” according to Business Insider.

 

GettyImages-849616080 Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker. Photo: Theo Warger/GETTY