The Social Dilemma- grasps viewers attention

Paige Williams, Opinion Editor

  The Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma by Jeff Orlowski focuses on the epidemic of fake news, addiction, advertisement, and even how technology is starting to demolish our social interactions. Orlowski explores how things we may view as bugs are there as features.  

With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and similar apps at our fingertips, once we receive a notification we seem almost tempted to check. Humans have a natural response to want to connect with each other making these devices and programming so addicting.   

Orlowski, known for his award-winning environmental films, effectively demonstrates his views by interviewing men and women who have helped build social media platforms who now worry for the safety of the consumers. He effectively edits and puts each clip together for extra evidence and support for his claims.  On the edge of bias or persuading his audience, using such names combined with their titles all joining to show their concerns helps viewers really grasp the idea of how dangerous such devices can be.  

Every platform people use has access to almost every piece of information ever searched. Platforms customize each person’s feed to match with every decision they have made up until then, such as who you follow, what you search, and for how long you look at each page. They reveal how companies use people’s information for advertisement and try to appeal to them as consumers. Big brands such as Facebook are paid to advertise to appeal to each individual user.  

People believe the algorithm is designed to help them when it spreads fake news and false information. It can even become dangerous, such as news about Coronavirus, when there are so many people expressing views on such a global platform, people have no idea what is true and what is false, and it affects people’s lives greatly. Sandy Parakilas, former Facebook operations manager and former Uber product manager, reveals how very few people in the tech industry understand the algorithm and how it truly works. No one knows how each individual person will react to content; “people have nearly lost control of the system”.  It’s as if we have less control of who we are and what we believe.  

The documentary also uses complex acted out scenes throughout the film to show a family and the way phones affect each member. A scene portrays a little girl smashing a locked jar to retrieve her phone during family dinner. The scene helps viewers understand the mental and physical attachment we have with our devices, especially with younger generations. It allows viewers to see how social media affects humans in real life.  

“The social dilemma” truly grabs the viewers’ attention with its dramatic tone and multiple facts to support the claim technology can be dangerous.  The documentary keeps the viewers engaged the entire time by adding in creative scenes and following the claim throughout the whole film, showing the negative ways social media can be. 

Orloski deserves a 4 out of 5 stars for his mind-opening documentary on the dangers and concerns of social media. Overall, the documentary did a great job at keeping the viewer engaged and interested. It would’ve been nice to see the directors touch on some positive’s and change social media has brought over the last decade, but it’s definitely worth the watch.  I rate this film a 4.5 out of 5 stars.