Bill Maher took aim at Silicon Valley’s biggest companies Friday, calling them “essentially drug dealers” for creating addictive apps aimed at children.
“The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your ‘likes’ is the new smoking,” Maher said Friday night on his HBO series, “Real Time.”
Maher cited a report on “60 Minutes” that exposed how everything in Silicon Valley is purposely designed to make its user feel compelled to check in with it constantly. “Apple, Google, Facebook, they’re essentially drug dealers,” he said.
“We all know the feeling — you post a picture on social media and when the likes pop-up it floods your brain with gratifying dopamine,” he said. “It comes to this — you don’t exist until you get a smiley face? And then that’s not enough — you need a thumbs up. Or better yet a giant thumbs up. A giant black thumbs up!”
Noting that the average person interacts with their phone over 2,600 times a day, Maher added, “it wants all your attention, all the time. It’s not a service; it’s Glenn Close in ‘Fatal Attraction.’ There is something being crushed out there but it ain’t candy. Phillip Morris just wanted your lungs; the App Store wants your soul.”
Watch the full clip above.