The BBC presenter said the age of social media and reality TV shows had seen public discourse become increasingly shallow.
‚ÄúAnd the point about Facebook, Google, Twitter, is that they have no concern about the truth,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúThey are about us looking at ourselves, albeit in the mirror of other people‚Äôs lives, not interrogating the outside world.
‚ÄúAnd they are making us ignorant, stupid and unhappy. And they are phenomenally successful. More fool us.‚ÄĚ
Speaking at the Headmasters‚Äô and Headmistresses‚Äô Conference in Manchester, Buerk said Facebook was applying new techniques to an old idea.
Michael Buerk has made a scathing attack on internet giants Facebook, Google and Twitter (Ian West/PA)
‚ÄúWhat Facebook is doing is capturing and selling people‚Äôs attention, much the same, I suppose, as mass market newspapers and ad-funded TV does,‚ÄĚ he said.
‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs different is how they do it ‚Äď the complexity, the ruthlessness with which they identify and track us, and the impact the whole thing is having on our society in selling our eyeballs and wallets.
‚ÄúIt is indifferent to the actual content on its site except insofar as it helps target and sell advertisements.
‚ÄúThe psychology is basic too. People want to look at what other people are doing, to compare, to boast, and to show off.‚ÄĚ
He added that platforms such as Facebook have an inherent tendency to fragment or atomise their users into like-minded groups.
Buerk said that on Facebook, if you are not a member of a particular group ‚Äúbeing served up the lies, being targeted‚ÄĚ, then you are unlikely to know those lies ever exist.
He continued: ‚ÄúOn Facebook there have been no effective gatekeepers as there are with traditional media ‚Äď nobody to say ‚ÄėThat‚Äôs not true, we can‚Äôt publish that‚Äô. It has gone far beyond well-meaning anarchy.‚ÄĚ
Facebook, Twitter and Google have been contacted for comment.