Engineer who created Facebook 'like' button swears off social media apps

Engineer who created Facebook 'like' button swears off social media apps
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The Facebook employee who created the “like" button is now swearing off social media apps.

Justin Rosenstein, a former Facebook engineer who pulled an all-nighter 10 years ago to build a prototype of Facebook's “like" button, now restricts his life online, according to The Guardian.

Rosenstein limits his use of his former employer’s website, has banned himself from Snapchat and blocks Reddit on his computer.

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In August, Rosenstein took things a step further, asking his assistant to set up parental controls on his phone to keep him from downloading new apps. He is now critical of the "like" button, describing it as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure.”

Rosenstein is a part of a growing number of Silicon Valley employees who have grown critical of the products that they helped make ubiquitous. Since its creation, the "like" button has spread to a number of other popular social media apps.

"It is very common for humans to develop things with the best of intentions and for them to have unintended, negative consequences," Rosenstein said.

"One reason I think it is particularly important for us to talk about this now is that we may be the last generation that can remember life before," Rosenstein said.

The former Facebook engineer fears that frequent smartphone use can be damaging to the public, an argument that research corroborates.

One recent study cites phone use as a cause of decreased cognitive capacity. Others argue that they have damaging effects on attention spans and intelligence.

“Everyone is distracted,” Rosenstein said. “All of the time.”