Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma” Shows Dark Side of Social Media

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Leilani Fierro, Staff Writer

Netflix recently came out with a new documentary, The Social Dilemma.” The documentary explores the networking side of social media apps. Tech experts sound the alarm on their own creations, openly admitting the apps have not become what they were intended for and have taken a mind of their own.   

Although their apps help spread love and positivity they have also become a behavioral tracking device for users. The ex-employees all agreed there is a problem in the tech industry, but it’s too large to specifically identify it.

The film features former employees from companies like Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Throughout the documentary they discuss the lengths companies go to keep their users on their phones. From the color of the app, to what pop-ups when users refresh the page has all been strategically crafted. Tristan Harris, Google’s former Design Ethicist and Center for Humane Technology Co-Founder explains everything has been carefully engineered to keep users engaged, “Everything they are doing online is being watched, is being tracked, is being measured,” he said in the documentary.

All the ads and posts about things recently talked about started to make sense. It wasn’t the FBI listening, instead, all the information is fed to these companies to make better predictions about what we want to see next. Maybe we do not have little agents watching us through our phone. Instead, a computer system calculates our every move on social media.  

Tim Kendall, Facebook former executive explained in the show that Facebook tries to figure out how to get as much of someone’s attention as possible, how much time they can get you to spend on their app. Large companies care more about the money and users instead of benefiting the users. Becoming the biggest company is what they care about most.

The services on the internet that we see as free, are not really free for advertisers. “Instead of society being the customers, advertisers become the customers while we become the product,” Former Facebook Engineer, Justin Rosenstein explained in the documentary.

Watching this did not scare me into deleting social media, but it has made me more aware of the time I spend on it. Social media is not all bad. I do not think that’s the message the documentary was trying to portray. They were giving society insight on the behind-the-scenes and why these social media platforms can be so addicting. I would rate this 6/10 because I definitely don’t think you should drop everything and go watch this, but if you are bored and have nothing to do then why not.