Ex-Facebook, Google and Apple employees have teamed up to form a new campaign to raise awareness about — and fight back against — addictive technologies.
The Truth About Tech campaign, founded by the advocacy group Common Sense, aims to “protect young minds from the potential of digital manipulation and addiction,” using the expertise of Silicon Valley veterans, who’ve witnessed tech giants’ questionable tactics first hand.
It aims to put pressure on tech’s big guns to make products less intrusive and addictive, while offering support for families concerned about the affects on young people.
One of the group’s leaders is former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris, who says he’s been privy to “deliberate decisions” made by tech companies “that do great harm.”
He says: “They’ve created the attention economy and are now engaged in a full-blown arms race to capture and retain human attention, including the attention of kids. Technologists, engineers, and designers have the power and responsibility to hold themselves accountable and build products that create a better world.
“Plenty of smart engineers and designers in the industry want to create apps that provide us with the information we need to improve our lives as quickly as possible, instead of just sucking us in for as long as possible.”
The campaign comes as more and more former tech workers speak out against practices being deployed by the big companies.
Back in December, former Facebook VP of user growth Chamath Palihapitiya said: “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.”
Just last month Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff called for addictive tech products like Facebook to be regulated in the same way as alcohol and cigarettes.
Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently admitted he won’t let is nephew use social media and warned against overuse of Apple products.
Facebook itself admitted that users who spend more time “passively scrolling” content end up feeling worse than those who engage in meaningful interactions.
Is the tide turning against the aggressive, conscience free expansion of tech? Is it overdue? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter.