The Social Dilemma 2020 – Movie Review

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This documentary from Jeff Orlowski explores how addiction and privacy breaches are features, not bugs, of social media platforms.

Scene from “The Social Dilemma”

Netflix has been a better platform to keep us going that helps us learn or watch something entertaining content during this pandemic, documentary “The Social Dilemma” from Jeff Orlowski widens our view on how social media works, why it can be a better tool or an addiction leading you a bad way by its privacy breaches that are considered as features, not bugs of social media platforms.

“Never before in history have 50 designers made decisions that would have an impact on two billion people”

says Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google.

What’s the Movie All About?

Much of the scenes in the movie is familiar, but “The Social Dilemma” goes extra-mile by interspersing the interviews with P.S.A.- style fictional scenes of a suburban family suffering the consequences of social-media addiction. The interview given in the movie is by people who worked at top-level in companies like Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit etc. They say, they were aware of the algorithm and how it could affect human behavior by getting them addicted to use such platforms.

For them(tech giants), they need to increase impressions of ads that they show to a user and to keep up with the users engagement time with these apps, they’d read your interests, likes, time on certain posts, content that you mostly share, etc. and make sure you see what you are interested in.

Impact of “Like” button

Justin Rosenstein, the inventor of Facebook’s most ubiquitous feature, the “like” button. He sheepishly says it was intended to “spread positivity.” What could be wrong with letting your friends and their friends “like” something you’ve posted? Well, it turns out people get their feelings hurt if they don’t get likes. So, they amend their behavior to attract more likes. Does that seem like a problem? Consider this: a large population of the people urgently trying to get “likes” are young teenagers.

We all know the excruciating nightmare that is middle school, when all of a sudden you no longer take for granted what your parents tell you and decide that what you really need is to be considered cool or at least not a total loser by your friends at school. Now multiply that by the big, unregulated world of the internet. This is why there is a precipitous spike in anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide attempts by the girls of Gen Z, current middle and high schoolers, as much as triple in some categories. Then there’s the new clinical term “Snapchat Dysmorphia,” describing the people who seek plastic surgery to look more like the filtered images they see online.

This movie explains on how ads, feeds (any content) that you see and how you react to it, for instance, the movie’s interlocutors pin an increase in mental illness on social media usage yet don’t acknowledge factors like a rise in economic insecurity. Polarization, riots and protests are presented as particular symptoms of the social-media era without historical context.

Though the interviewees in “The Social Dilemma” are not all doomsayers, many suggest that with the right changes, we can salvage the good of social media without the bad. But the concept of personal and political solutions they present in the film confuses two distinct targets of critique: the technology that causes destructive behaviors and the culture of unchecked capitalism that produces it.

Take from the movie..

“The Social Dilemma” is a must-watch for all, the effort the crew has taken to alarm about the incursion of data mining and manipulative technology into our social lives and beyond. The movie is streaming on Netflix…. & there, will it be another node in the service’s data-based algorithm? Technology/Data has truly taken over oil, this is for sure!

Check what Joseph Gordon-Levitt has to say on using social platform:

Movie Details:

Director: Jeff Orlowski
Writers: Davis Coombe, Vickie Curtis, Jeff Orlowski
Stars: Skyler Gisondo, Kara Hayward, Vincent Kartheiser, Tristan Harris, Sophia Hammons
Rating: IMDB
Running Time: 1h 29m
Genres: Documentary, Drama

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