The Social Dilemma is a Netflix documentary that has ironically been circulating around social media using the same targeted algorithms that the whole documentary is based around. It is all about social media platforms and the manipulative dark side that is actually behind all of the fun.
Most of the content comes directly from individuals who have worked high up in tech companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and many more – they talk about how social media has now transformed into an unscrupulous and addictive tool. Throughout the 1.5-hour documentary, you are flooded with information and statistics about how social media is not good for us and how social media uses our own psychology against us. It really makes you want to delete your social media accounts and put your phone down because you feel used.
The documentary is very persuasive in using examples of the circulation of conspiracy theories, the extremely diminished self-esteem of young girls with social media and the way the young generation will not experience physical love the same way as past generations have. Although none of this information seems new, it did highlight the fact that algorithms don’t give users content that they want to make them happy but gives them content that they want in order to spend more time on their phone without knowing and therefore viewing more ads – the social media sites make money from our attention.
Although the documentary gave a lot of negative points throughout most of the content, it quickly wrapped up the steps that users should take to spend less time on social media and not feed into the algorithm. They suggested that individuals should not click on posts or videos that are recommended to them, but this probably won’t work because users will press on what they want to watch whether it is recommended or not. They also suggested industry regulation which is most likely not going to happen because they are trapped in their own business model where they want to increase engagement and growth.
I do agree with the fact that having a healthy and functioning community does mean there should be limits and ways to regulate the whole situation, but society depends on this shared reality. Social media is now ingrained into human life that it is a basic need for the individual to go about their daily life – it has ultimately defined the way of modern living whether we like it or not and our existence really depends on social giants. Despite this, we must adapt the way that ‘they’ use us and how ‘we’ use them to make social media a safer place for the upcoming generations because there is no way to stop the continuous growth.