The Problem With Social Media

The Social Dilemma is a remarkable documentary that really shows the problems that comes with social media.

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Netflix

Netflix’s newest documentary The Social Dilemma really shows how divided our world is becoming due to social media and the problems that come with it.

Elicia Ramu, Staff Writer

One-click and your whole world can change. 

On September 9, 2020, a new documentary/drama hit Netflix’s platform with a powerful story to be told. The name of it is The Social Dilemma and its story is a story that can change a person’s mindset within the first three minutes not even. The Social Dilemma is a documentary that’s story was created by Jeff Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis. It’s a documentary in which the viewers get to hear more about the problems that come with social media and how the social media industry works. It has over fifteen interviews that were held with former social media industry workers including people like Tristan Harris (Former Google design ethicist), Tim Kendall (Former Facebook executive and former Pinterest president, Jaron Lanier (Self- founding father of virtual reality and computer scientist) and so many more people who really help to tell a story that needs to be told. 

Within the first six minutes of this documentary catches the reader’s attention right away. It does this by starting with a singular quote. That quote being:

 “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse” – Sophocles 

After that quote comes the introductions. The readers get to meet at least ten former employees from social media apps like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. Each interviewee states their name, their former position at that job and some even talk about why they left. However, the beginning of each interview is intense and the music that plays with it just adds up to that suspense. As the film continues it transfers away from the interviews and moves to an actual example of what social media does to a person by showing a family and the beginning of an addiction. As they show the family however the scenes change rapidly. It changes from one news report to another news report to the family and then to the interviews and once again back to the family. It continues to repeat in that same cycle except it doesn’t push the viewer away but it draws them in. 

One of the coolest things about the film is the way that they talked about and showed what was going on within the social media industries. Multiple interviews talked about social media uses all of its users like lab rats. They don’t necessarily have us pay for certain things through money but instead, they will have us pay through views and how long we were on a certain app or how long we were looking at a certain image on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr whatever app your on. The basic gist of it all is that the goal of social media is to collect data and to make money. Like most but not all businesses these platforms don’t care about your mental health. They don’t care about our mental health or what’ll hurt us or keep us happy. The only thing that they care about is the views that they get and the ads that there able to put out. 

Another cool thing that they did was as they talked about how these apps collect their data they created a little room where they had a person floating above the floor and they described that person like you or a user. They then continued to build that person more and more as they collected data and they showed what it looked like when you’re not active on a social media app. For example, they would send you a notification to get your attention or to get you drawn into the app, and as they did this the little shape of a person’s body would move around looking at different screens with other screens surrounding them. It was one of the coolest things ever to look at and to see. However, the whole film itself was cool. 

The Social Dilemma is an incredible film and documentary that is super insightful and helps to give the viewer an idea of what happens behind their screen. I really enjoyed this documentary and I definitely had moments where my jaw dropped with surprise and shock at what I had just heard. Some former employees even admitted to being addicted to an app, some who were addicted to an app that they spent hours creating. At the end of the whole film though one thing was clear. There is a problem with social media and that problem can lead to some even bigger problems if it’s not taken care of now. I highly recommend The Social Dilemma for anyone who is looking for an interesting documentary to watch or just something that will teach them something. It’s really good and very very insightful.