Facebook is addictive and should be regulated like tobacco industry, says tech CEO

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Facebook and other addictive technology should be regulated like the cigarette industry, the CEO of a leading tech company has said.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said that he believes similar levels of regulation as found in the finance and food sectors will be introduced across the tech industry to help govern social media.

Mr Benihoff, whose company is a market leader in cloud computing, also said teh tobacco industry could be a model for regulation for Facebook and other sites which get people’s attention then keep them coming back for more.

“I think you’d do it exactly the same way you regulated the cigarette industry: here’s a product, cigarettes, they’re addictive, they’re not good for you, maybe there’s all kinds of forces trying to get you to do certain things. There’s a lot of parallels,” said Mr Benioff.

“For sure technology has addictive qualities that we have to address”.

“Product designers are working to make those products more addictive and we need to rein that back,” he added.

Mr Benioff also called on the U.S. government to get involved in regulation social media and other addictive technology, saying “in technology, the government’s going to have to be involved. There is some regulation but there probably will have to be more.”

Mr Benioff’s comments follows similar made by other leading figures in the tech industry who have hit out Facebook and warned against the use of social media.

Former Facebook president Sean Parker said that he and other executives were guilty of creating “social-validation feedback loop” that exploits “a vulnerability in human psychology.”

Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he would keep children off using social media and that he does not want his nephew to use a social network.

“I don’t have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on”, he told a reporter from the Guardian.

“There are some things that I won’t allow. I don’t want them on a social network.”

Source: CNBC

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