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Facebook investor says site ‘preys on the weakest’

Could this be the death of Facebook?

The social media network with about 2 billion users shared the private information of 50 million users with Cambridge Analytica, without permission, to influence the 2016 presidential election. It’s also had privacy lapses and let minors use credit cards on their platform.

Now, a former Facebook insider says Facebook and Google knowingly get users like you addicted to the site. Could this be the controversy that brings Facebook down?

What happened to Facebook anyway?

“They’ve created products that essentially prey on the weakest elements of our psychology to create, first, habits and then addictions,” Roger McNamee, a former Facebook investor and advisor, told “CBS This Morning.” “They didn’t take the steps to safeguard us from what bad actors can do.”

His point is simply this: Facebook is fun to use, so billions of people just like you happily post photos and videos to the site, even as we’ve all heard they share our personal information with advertisers, political manipulators and who knows who else.

“You have seen a really long list of bad things happening on Facebook and Google.” The problem, he says, is that Facebook doesn’t find the problems. Instead, they let users become victims of those problems. “They don’t do any preparation.”

He suggests in his book, “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe,” that Facebook is a monopoly that has too much influence over our personal lives, and political outcomes. Other critics of Facebook have suggested that the company helped Donald Trump win the presidency by sending you ads that manipulated the way you thought about candidates.

Zuckerberg blamed for Facebook problems

He has suggested that the company be broken up into smaller, more manageable companies. Mark Zuckerberg is a big part of the problem, too. McNamee has said Zuckerberg dismisses controversies in the company as bad public relations and doesn’t see that they’re having a negative effect on us as individuals and as a country.

“I want to have a conversation about the future of our children,” McNamee told “CBS This Morning.” “We just saw twice last week that Facebook was accused, in one case successfully in a legal challenge with respect essentially to taking advantage of minors, in one case credit card charges related to games and in the other case a product that spied on all their usage.”

“CBS This Morning” anchors pointed out to McNamee that he has not been an advisor for Facebook in about a decade. They also said that his book is based on hypotheses, not concrete evidence.

“Keep in mind, they have political power that dominates this country and around world and they’re not elected,” he said. “The whole point of ‘Zucked’ is to give you, as a voter and citizen of the United States, an opportunity to understand the questions and issues.”

Watch more of Roger McNamee’s interview with CBS This Morning:

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