Slot machines are the most profitable part of any casino. Why? Because they’re designed to be addictive.
When users play with slot machines, they’re risking their own money, and if they aren’t careful, they could land in a heap of debt, sometimes without even realizing it; accordingly, slot machines are heavily regulated (usually by state in the United States) to carefully control the odds of payout, and how they can be played.
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But once a psychological phenomenon is discovered and exploited, it rarely stays in just one place for long. Studying the design and effectiveness of slot machines and other forms of gambling, tech giants in the social media space have started to refine their own designs, making changes to maximize a different kind of income (advertising).
In the United States, we’re very careful to make sure users aren’t exploited for their money, but shouldn’t we care even more about people being exploited for their time and attention? Especially after the whole Facebook fiasco. The loss of money can interfere with someone’s livelihood, but the loss of attention and control in one’s life can interfere with someone’s psychology, family, and productivity just as much.
So why aren’t we paying as much attention to these borderline abusive tactics, as they’re applied to social apps?
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