Aren’t we all addicted to our phones ? and more specifically social media. It has tremendously changed our lifestyle, relationships and possibilities. We may think that social media is a blessing. Facebook helps us maintain our social relationships, instagram is a window of unlimited content and Tiktok is the best place for entertainment. However after watching the Social Dilemma on Netflix, we might reconsider what we think about these networks and look at them for a different perspective.
This 90 minutes documentary about a random American family and the different relationships in the household, “examines the various ways social media and social networking companies have manipulated human psychology to rewire the human brain and what it means for society in general” (cinemablend). In fact throughout the film, the family portrayed is slowly torn apart because of the degradation of interactions between the family members.
In other words, this documentary gives a complete and straightforward list of the dangers of these platforms by showing us what their purpose is really about. Through various interviews with tech specialist from the top companies in Silicon valley including google, facebook…, we can summarize these dangers in three main points:
Manipulation and attention span
Firstly, Tech specialist explained how social media platforms are designed in a way that makes us want more and hooks us up. In fact, simple features like a “like button” or “scroll” options are designed exclusively to manipulate our attention span. For instance, the more we spend time on these platforms the more these companies gain more data that they can exploit and sell to the highest bidder. In other words, it is all about business.
The favorite Targets
Secondly, the documentary stressed on how teenagers are the first target of social media. In fact, because of their vulnerability, they could get easily addicted and run their entire life around validation and acceptance through their daily interactions on the platforms. a big part of the film focused on the alarming increase of suicide and depression within this population caused directly by social media.
Is it even ethical ?
Thirdly, throughout the whole film, one could only ask how are these platforms not regulated. The urge of stopping all activity on these platforms will probably come to any viewer, however the shock and astonishment would probably be stronger. This documentary was able to raise one of the biggest problems of social media which is control ! it is enough to see that recently Trump was banned from Twitter for inciting violence. How could higher instances get to this point ? Why there were no actions taken in advance ? These apps have proven to be far from ethical and the only way to make it stop is to take a stand and ask for changes
In conclusion, the Social Dilemma is hard to watch, but necessary to. It “is remarkably effective in sounding the alarm about the incursion of data mining and manipulative technology into our social lives and beyond” (New York Times) .It is one eye opening documentary that people should be aware of, and it even raised awareness on a subject we know nothing about. Consequently, social Media needs to become a safer place.