That social media can be addictive is not a revelation to anyone using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. But in Jeff Orlowski's documentary "The Social Dilemma," the people who helped create these social media explain the harm that social networking platforms can do.
They claim that manipulating human behavior for profit is codified in these companies with Machiavelli precision: Continuous scrolling and endless alerts keep users constantly committed. Personalized sentences use data not only to predict, but also to influence our actions, turning users into easy victims for advertisers and propagandists.
As in his documentaries on climate change, "Chasing Ice" and "Chasing Coral", Orlowski analyzes a reality that may seem colossal and abstract to ordinary people. people, let alone care for them. In "The Social Dilemma", he tries to do the same for the digital age.
In highly crafted interviews, Orlowski talks to men and (some) women who helped create social media and are now afraid of impact of their creations, both in the mental health of users and in the foundations of democracy.
"Never before in history have 50 designers made decisions that would have an impact on two billion people," said Tristan Harris, a former Google designer. Anna Lembke, an addiction specialist at Stanford University, explains that these companies take advantage of the brain's evolving need for interpersonal skills. dealings. And Roger McNamee, an American businessman, makes an amazing claim: Russia did not hack Facebook, it just used the platform.
Many of them are known, but "The Social Dilemma" goes one step further, presenting the interviews a family suffering from the effects of social media addiction. The family eats in silence, the teenage daughter (Sophia Hammons) has self-promotion issues and the teenage son (Skyler Gisondo) is influenced by various YouTube videos that promote a vague ideology.
Despite their strong criticism, the respondents in Netflix's "The Social Dilemma" are not all absolute. Many say that with the right changes, we can keep the good of social media without the bad. But the personal and political solutions they present in the film confuse two separate ones targets criticized: the technology that causes destructive behavior and culture of the uncontrollable capitalism that produces it.
Nevertheless, "The Social Dilemma" is extremely effective in shaking us about the use of data and the manipulation of technology in our social life and beyond. Orlowski's film does not escape the phenomenon he is considering. The movie airs on Netflix, so its subscribers platform they can enjoy it.