Tech experts launch campaign against social media addiction

Tech experts launch campaign against social media addiction

The Center for Humane Technology is led by industry insiders including Tristan Harris, a former Google design ethicist (and senior fellow at Common Sense), and Roger McNamee, a former Facebook investor and adviser.

They have also teamed up with a non-profit media watchdog group by the name of Common Sense Media, which is busy planning an anti-tech addiction legal campaign and an attempt to go through over fifty thousand public schools in the US alone to bring the info directly to them. "The Truth About Tech" campaign will be funded with $7m from Common Sense and capital raised by the Centre for Humane Technology, while Common Sense has $50mm in donated media and airtime from partners including Comcast and DirecTV.

Ex-employees of Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. and Google Inc. have come together to warn against some of the ill effects tech may have on people's lives.

The first step for the Center for Humane Technology was launching the Truth About Tech Campaign targeted at about 55,000 public schools in the US. It describes Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube as examples of platforms "designed to addict us" by employing persuasive techniques and reward loops to encourage continual app usage. By the way, we knew when we did that that was probably decrease the amount of time spent on our platform and it did. "We know how they talk, and we know how the engineering works". The people making the case should know, as they are founders and developers of Facebook, Google, Apple, Mozilla, and other lynchpins of the technology and social boom.

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A number of former Google and Facebook employees who say that "our society is being hijacked by technology" have formed a new alliance (New York Times) to fight the companies they helped build.

Generations of parents, teachers and researchers have expressed concerns over how children are impacted by media and technology - from television to video games, and now social media.

Common Sense had already given $7 million as way of support for the campaign.

"Tech companies are conducting a massive, real-time experiment on our kids, and, at present, no one is really holding them accountable", said Common Sense's CEO, James Steyer, warning that tech companies' attention-grabbing business models may hurt "the social, emotional and cognitive development of kids". In fact, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood last month told Facebook that its Messenger for Kids should be junked.

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The organization called The Center for Humane Technology was announced Sunday, in an attempt to reverse "the digital attention crisis" among Americans and "realign technology with humanity's best interests".

The news follows increased attention to the downside of widely popular tech products like Facebook. They speak of Facebook "ripping apart the social fabric"; of it appealing to users' "lizard brain - primarily fear and anger. If they are turned down, they don't get to ask again", reported the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. One bill would fund research on the impact of social media on children's health, another would limit the use of bots.

McNamee said that the group is a chance for him to "correct a wrong".

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