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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Addictive ‘brain hijacking’ methods of social media platforms harmful to users, especially children: Insider

Addictive “brain hijacking” methods by social media giants to keep users on their platforms have a detrimental effect, especially on children, according to industry insider Rex Lee, who says that companies are using such techniques to protect children from children. may violate protection laws and consumer protection laws. ,

Lee, who has more than 35 years of experience in the tech and telecommunications industry, recently testified before Congress, speaking to members about some of the deceptive practices used by social media networks — specifically, “brain Hijacking.”

“The first time I ever heard of brain hijacking, I thought it was something out of a science fiction movie,” he recently told EpochTV’s Crossroads program.

He said social media apps, including those developed by Google, Meta and ByteDance, have been deliberately developed to be addictive.

He explained that part of what makes these platforms addictive is related to brain hijacking techniques, which include suggestive and manipulative advertising.

Lee, who works in the tech industry for an enterprise app and platform developer, said he was shocked after entering a 2017 Axios interview by Sean Parker, who previously served as Facebook’s chairman.

In interviews, Parker stated that Facebook was deliberately developed using addictive techniques involving something he described as a “social validation feedback loop.”

“That in itself is what’s at the heart of brain hijacking,” Lee said. “And what it does is reassure the end user that a lot of people are accepting what they post on the platform. In other words, a social validation feedback loop with a thumbs up, or confetti, or emoji. Will be connected, and after that sort of thing they do a post.

Lee said these are the addictive qualities that developers put into their app and platform designs, which ultimately end up harming the user.

“Sean Parker actually acknowledged this during the Axios interview when he said, ‘God only knows what this is doing to the minds of our kids,'” Lee said. “But it is not just the mind of the children, it is the mind of the end user, whether it is an adult, a teenager, a child, or a business and a user.

This is the reason why people are checking their smartphones up to 150 times a day.

Lee said Parker explicitly told Axios that the feedback loop was “exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like me would bring up, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

Lee has been providing insider information to congressional committees as well as senators and members of the House on how these platforms are developed.

The cybersecurity and privacy advisory also highlighted the harmful effects of these social media platforms on young teens, and described the platforms as “no different than tobacco companies producing bubblegum-flavored cigarettes to sell to children”.

Lee said, “These social recognition feedback loops are at heart, and why young teenage girls—as well as boys who use this technology—can be at a disadvantage – they become addicted to it, they never fulfill it. can be found,” Lee said.

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“And then, they get depressed and they’re always looking for that validation, not just from the technology, but from the other end users on the platform.”

“It’s also dangerous because it contributes to cyberbullying,” Lee said, explaining that cyberbullies themselves can become addicted to online bullying of others.

“They [cyberbullies] Get some thumbs up from the post where they are bullying someone and then more thumbs up. And then that person, the bully, becomes really accustomed to harming people, as well as harming the recipient,” he explained. “And we all know what leads to anxiety, self-harm as well as suicide. And all of those teens and young adults are among adult users, especially young girls who use the platform.”

“Children are being exploited,” he alleged, noting that the social media giant is violating child online safety legislation – the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enacting the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998. it was done.

Lee said of the law, “It is virtually illegal for a child under the age of 13 to use any kind of technology that exploits a user for financial gain through methods such as data mining and surveillance.” Developed supported by violent apps.”

Li said he had analyzed legal language on Samsung Galaxy Note smartphones, which came pre-installed with more than 175 apps built or developed by 18 companies, including Chinese tech company Baidu.

He explained that what is often hidden within devices from the user is “the most important part of your terms of use.”

This includes application permission descriptions and application product warnings “which describe in great detail how much surveillance and data mining technology companies can conduct on you.”

“But they don’t want it online. They hide that within devices, and some of those app permission statements actually contain product warnings,” Lee said.

“Then, there would be another cigarette analogy, it would be like a warning with a cigarette printed on the inside of the package,” he explained. “So that after you consume the product, you understand that it can cause cancer, it’s the same thing.”

“They are hiding product warnings within application permission statements, which can only be accessed within the device, not online,” he said.

Lee said the FTC should take action to investigate these companies’ related damages reported by their consumers, and enforce existing customer laws, especially since former senior executives such as Parker have acknowledged that they have Techniques have evolved to be addictive, “even at the cost of end user safety.”

“Not only did we weaponize these platforms against the end user to exploit them for financial gain through harmful technology, such as addictive apps, but they are now using them to oppress people and spread misinformation, censorship.” , are doing to crush the freedom of the press, and among other things,” Lee said. “It’s unbelievable.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to Meta, ByteDance and Google for comment.

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