A group of tech experts who used to work at companies like Facebook and Google have founded an organization to raise awareness about what they believe are the negative effects of social media and technology on society.
The Silicon Valley insiders are now acting as outsiders in launching their new organization, The Center for Humane Technology. They are starting a campaign called The Truth About Tech, funded in part by $7 million from the non-profit media watchdog group Common Sense Media, which will help drive the movement forward across the country.
Other major companies who are participating in The Truth About Tech are Comcast and DirecTV by donating some $50 million in free media and airtime for the tech ethics campaign.
The Center for Humane Technology is especially worried about the effects of unchecked tech use and social media on children.
“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,” said Tristan Harris, previously a tech ethicist at Google and co-founder of The Center for Humane Technology, in an interview with the New York Times.
The Truth About Tech campaign, which will be modeled after successful anti-smoking crusades, will focus on 55,000 public schools to teach students, parents and teachers about the troubling side effects of too much tech use, such as depression, which are becoming more and more common in American children, according the Times.
Lobbying will also play a role in the new group’s efforts, and will center around two upcoming pieces of legislation from Massachusetts and California that would fund research on the impact of technology on children’s health and require identification for digital bots.