Review: Social Media Is Going To End Us All in Netflix Doc THE SOCIAL DILEMMA
New Netflix documentary 'The Social Dilemma' hosts a bunch of tech dudes talking about the secret things happening behind the curtain of Twitter, Instagram and most specifically Facebook. Only these aren't just low level Google employees, they are previously high ranking members of social networks (One guy was the President of Pinterest).
The documentary is well put together, even if it does feature some awkward and overly dramatic 'Rescue 911' type real life reenactments of a family navigating the perils of social media. Seriously, this part of the doc feels like those HBO life lessons from the 90's. You know the ones, "Oh my God, I'm so high right now! Let's go look at my dads gun case he should have locked!"
The rest of the documentary holds a lot of information and opinion over the perils and ultimate outcomes of social media. As with many documentaries however, your enjoyment level will depend on where you stand on these issues. If you are a parent who thinks that the internet is melting your kids brains or a conspiracy theorist who already thinks social media is evil incarnate then you're going to be locked in.
Others, including myself might find themselves waiting a while for anything that actually rocks their boat.
'The Social Dilemma' brings up some interesting fears ranging from teenage depression to Civil War (a genuine fear I have about us at the moment) but the question is.....did social media really cause this? Or are these issues that would have existed either way? We just have better communication tools now, exacerbating an already prevalent situation. In which case, removing it or its capabilities is the equivalent to halting human progress for fear of change. The real problem with this documentary is that it states a lot of problems but no attempt at answering them.
When 'The Social Dilemma' is able to find its focus things do become a bit more interesting. The main issue here appears to be that these social media networks are using an algorithm to figure out what you like and then boxing you into those topics and opinions to sell you things and change your behaviors. When you click conspiracy right or left wing videos, they send you more. They connect you with others who watched them. We are being presented our own little perfect world and having it filled with people with like minded believes who we will then be engaging with on the plaftorm(s) in an effort to drive usage. Which, keeps us from ever realizing when we're wrong about something or spreading fake news.
Which is a pretty good goddamn point when you stop and look around at the political climate of this country. If you can get enough people to agree with you, it doesn't seem to matter how fucking wrong you are. You can drive that shit right through the gates of truth.
To me, this is the most interesting part of the documentary and expanding on a possible solution for this rather than the standard "Oh my God, we're addicted to our phones" story line would have served the film better.