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Social media accused of being 'deliberately' addictive

Social media has been accused of being "deliberately" addictive to users.

Apps and websites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have long been discussed in regards to mental health and addiction, and now Silicon Valley insiders have argued that the services are purposefully addicting users to their products for financial gain.

Speaking in an upcoming episode of BBC's 'Panorama', former Mozilla and Jawbone employee Aza Raskin said: "It's as if they're taking behavioural cocaine and just sprinkling it all over your interface And that's the thing that keeps you like coming back and back and back.

"Behind every screen on your phone, there are generally like literally a thousand engineers that have worked on this thing to try to make it maximally addicting."

Aza designed infinite scrolling in 2006, a feature which allows users to scroll through their social media apps without ever having to press a button to go to the next page, which is now seen as an addictive function.

He added: "If you don't give your brain time to catch up with your impulses, you just keep scrolling."

And Aza isn't the only former social media employee to slam the services either, as Sandy Parakilas attempted to stop using Facebook when he left the company in 2012, and found the habit hard to break.

He said: "Social media is very similar to a slot machine. It literally felt like I was quitting cigarettes.

"There was definitely an awareness of the fact that the product was habit-forming and addictive. You have a business model designed to engage you and get you to basically suck as much time out of your life as possible and then selling that attention to advertisers."

However, Facebook insists they are not trying to push anything "addictive" in their platform, and instead are just trying to bring people "closer" together.

They said: "[Facebook is designed] to bring people closer to their friends, family, and the things they care about. At no stage does wanting something to be addictive factor into that process."

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