The Social Dilemma Image

The Social Dilemma

By Alan Ng | October 2, 2020

NOW ON NETFLIX! Jeff Orlowski’s The Social Dilemma essentially confirms what you already knew about the toxic environment that we know as social media. I joined Facebook as a way to connect with my friends without having to log into bulletin boards and chat forums. I could post pictures of my meals and pets and basically let everyone I know get caught up with my life… even though they never asked.

What started as seemingly harmless fun and getting out there has now grown out of control… and worse, it was designed that way from the beginning. Orlowski interviews former executives, designers, and programmers of all the major social media platforms today. All of them thought they were creating something new and potentially positive in our lives. Still, even by setting aside the toxic environment it created, social media’s design is much more sinister.

“…social media leads to a decline in an individual’s mental and physical health and life satisfaction.”

We’ve all come to realize that social media directly affects your mental and emotional health. When you post or tweet, the likes and comments act like a drug, and one’s esteem is based on maintaining a certain number of engagements. Then there are the comments, trolling, and now #Cancelling… oh boy. A survey found that social media leads to a decline in an individual’s mental and physical health and life satisfaction.

Let’s get even more conspiratorial. So, you need a break from social media, and you decide to put your phone down. Life is good, then all of a sudden, your phone notifies you that a friend liked your post or that you haven’t engaged with a particular person in a while. Now, you’re back on your feed and fully engaged. Here’s the thing, it’s no coincidence you received the notification when you did. Thanks to the infinite data records, social media companies created algorithms that know exactly when you’re most likely to re-engage, and then you’re trapped. I feel crazy just typing this.

The Social Dilemma (2020)

Directed: Jeff Orlowski

Written: Jeff Orlowski, David Coombe, Vickie Curtis

Starring: Skyler Gisondo, Barbara Gehring, Vincent Kartheiser, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

The Social Dilemma Image

"…has Pandora’s box already been opened, and we’re now at the mercy of an uncontrolled technological monster?"

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