How Social Media is Negatively Affecting Us: The Social Dilemma

By: PENNY MACIAS

”There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.”

 “Social media starts to dig deeper and deeper down into the brain stem and take over kids’ sense of self-worth and identity.”

These two quotes were taken from a new documentary on Netflix, “The Social Dilemma.” This 90 minute documentary has started to open people’s eyes behind the true goal of social media; to control us. The Social Dilemma touches on our addiction that is social media, and has even changed the minds of instagram, facebook, and other social media users. “Everyone should watch The Social Dilemma documentary on Netflix and then make the necessary changes,” one Twitter user wrote. “Tonight I deleted Facebook and turned off notifications from Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. It’s time to take back control of our minds.”

Directed by Jeff Orlowski, The Social Dilemma bands together an impressive list of interviewees, many of whom are former Silicon Valley whistleblowers who themselves designed and perpetuated this addiction. Well, what does Social Dilemma tell us about the perils of social media that we don’t already know? Well, nothing. What it does is make all that we knew become far more tangible, as well as scary, through voices and illustrations. 

This documentary shows people how social media is manipulating its users. They also show how social media ‘sells’ their users to advertisers. We are all victims of ‘surveillance capitalism’ with these companies tracking our activity on the internet and showing us custom advertisements. They are also manipulating us to create habits of checking our phone and refreshing our feed. Most of the victims are young people, whose likes and follows are equal to value, and often compare themselves to social media’s beauty standard.

As highly regarded as the documentary has been, there have also been many critiques. ech analyst Benedict Evans, a former partner at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, told CNBC: “I thought it hilarious how manipulative and misleading it was.” He added that he thinks it will have “zero effect” on the likes of Facebook and Instagram. Even though Social Dilemma is spreading awareness, many doubt people will partake in the movement of deleting all their social media accounts. After all, social media does serve as a good tool and also connects us with the world. The Social Dilemma is a very eye-opening watch, and will leave you disturbed, because at the end of the day we’re all victims of social media’s manipulation.

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