UK Government plans to create a new internet regulator

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Ex-Google and Facebook workers are campaigning to raise awareness of the negative effects of using products made by their former employers.

Among their concerns are addiction to technology and its impact on individuals, particularly children and younger users, as well as society as a whole.

Tristan Harris, a former in-house ethicist at Google is spearheading the new group, called the Center for Humane Technology.

The newly-launched initiative, which is working with the nonprofit media watchdog group Common Sense Media, is planning to lobby the United States government over tech addiction. 

It is also undertaking an advertising campaign aimed at 55,000 public schools in the US, to raise awareness with parents, students and teachers over its concerns.

These include the mental health effects of overuse of social media, including depression, stress, anxiety, self-image and self-worth, according to the group’s website.

The campaign, called The Truth About Tech, also seeks to address more wide-ranging problems caused by technology, including its power to influence our relationships and even our political beliefs.

Speaking to the New York Times Mr Harris, said: ‘We were on the inside. We know what the companies measure. We know how they talk, and we know how the engineering works.

‘The largest supercomputers in the world are inside of two companies — Google and Facebook — and where are we pointing them?

‘We’re pointing them at people’s brains, at children.’ 

In December 2017, former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya also spoke out against the social network he helped to create, saying it is ‘ripping society apart’.

Mr Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels ‘tremendous guilt’ for the influence Facebook has had and its ability to manipulate users.

He also suggested users take a break from using social media altogether.



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