By Tom Horton, PA
Zach Galifianakis has said the “dark side seems to be taking over” on social media.
The actor stars in new children’s film Ron’s Gone Wrong, a story of friendship in the age of social media that follows Barney, a socially awkward schoolboy and his malfunctioning digitally-connected device Ron.
The Hangover star Galifianakis, who plays Ron in the film, said he tries to “stay away” from social media.
He told the PA news agency: “It’s not that I don’t understand it, it just seems very noisy and there seems to be a lot of people disagreeing — and some of those people are robots.
“There’s just not enough validity in it to me, so I ignore it.”
He added there is a “science” to the way social media has been constructed that aims to give people the “high” of a dopamine boost as they get more followers.
He compared social media companies to drug dealers, adding: “At first it didn’t seem all bad, it seemed like a really great thing, and the dark side seems to be taking over.”
Social media is “trying to get you to be outraged over things that when you read it in 140 characters only”.
“You know, life is more nuanced than that,” he said.
“It is. It’s more complicated.”
He said he once overheard a conversation between two teenage girls about their mobile phones.
“I hear one of them go, ‘Ever since Stephanie talked me out of having a cell phone, my life has gotten a lot easier’,” he said.
“And I’ll never forget that.”
He added it is “remarkable” for it to be unusual for a teenager not to have a mobile phone.
He said young people are being “burdened” with problems and are “not allowed to be kids”.
Galifianakis’ Ron’s Gone Wrong co-star Ed Helm said he thinks young people “are really starting to learn and hear about some of the blow back and some of the pain and damage” that social media can cause.
“And they’re certainly in their lives experiencing it, and I hope that we’re transitioning into a much more responsible and positive interface with these things,” he added.
Ron’s Gone Wrong came out in cinemas on Friday following its premiere at the London Film Festival.