The technology chief said the social media site was “eroding human interactions” and leaving users feeling “vacant and empty”.
“It is at a point now where we have created tools which are ripping apart the fabric of how society works - that is truly where we are,” said Chamath Palihapitiya.
“The short-term dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works: no civil discourse.
“No co-operation, misinformation, mistruth. This is a global problem. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”
Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and made a fortune when it floated in 2012, admitted he and his colleagues feared creating social problems.
“We all knew in the back of our minds, even though we feigned this whole line of ‘There probably aren’t any really bad unintended consequences’, that something bad could happen.”
Facebook has come under intensive criticism for giving a platform to paedophiles and terrorists and disseminating “fake news”. But in a speech to students at Stanford Business School in the US, Palihapitiya revealed that his great fear was of his family being “programmed”.
“It has created huge tension with my friends and in my social circles, but I guess I didn’t want to get programmed. I can control my decision, which is I don’t use this s**t. I can control my kids’ decisions, which is they’re not allowed to use this s**t.”
He urged his elite audience to consider whether they really wanted to use Facebook.
“You don’t realise it but you are being programmed. It was unintentional, but now you’ve got to decide how much you are willing to give up - how much of your intellectual independence are you willing to give up? If you feed the beast, that beast will destroy you. If you push back on it, you have a chance to control it and rein it in.”
Palihapitiya warned of the dangerous consequences of group-think. He described an incident earlier this year where six men were beaten to death in India after rumours spread on Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging platform that they were operating a child kidnapping ring.
“Bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything, and we compound the problem.
“We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perception because we get rewarded in short-term signals - hearts, likes, thumbs-up - and we conflate that with value and with truth.”
Palihapitiya runs an investment fund.
Facebook declined to comment.