social dilemma

Netflix released their newest documentary “The Social Dilemma” on Sept. 9. The documentary follows the very well-known idea that social media is addictive and lacks privacy. This documentary, though, focuses on exposing this creepy addictiveness as a feature of the platforms and not just a side effect. 

I actually really enjoyed this documentary. All of the information was interesting and quite revealing, despite how much I thought I knew about us being manipulated by technology. However, I do feel that it missed the mark with some scenes as well as the overall message it intended to get across to viewers. 

The interviewees throughout the documentary are mostly compiled of former employees of social media companies. Their insider knowledge is extremely interesting and thought-provoking, and I think that them being there did help the overall tone of the film and convey some parts of the warning attempting to be communicated.

There was one quote from the documentary, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product,” that really stuck with me after watching. I think that it is something worth thinking about for sure, but I am definitely still going to scroll through Twitter and TikTok 90% of the day. 

The one aspect of the documentary that I didn’t really enjoy were the acted out bits. There were times when they had actors playing out certain scenes regarding technology use, and it just didn’t land with me. This story ran all throughout the documentary and would pop up at what seemed like random times. The message that was trying to get across came through well enough, but the acting was unnecessary and kind of took me out of the experience of the documentary to be honest. 

There is one scene in particular with three people inside of a control room of sorts, all watching a teenager on his phone. They purposely decide when to give him certain advertisements and when to make his phone chime to grab his attention. This scene, along with others, felt very cheeky to me and didn’t really get the reaction out of me that I think the filmmakers would’ve liked or intended it to. 

Privacy has long-been an issue with social media, and it hasn’t caused masses to drastically change their online lifestyle. I don’t see this documentary being the cause for change. 

Overall, “The Social Dilemma” does the basis of what it intends to; it makes the audience feel creeped out and violated by big media companies. I don’t know whether or not the message will resonate with many, though. It’s more like one of those documentaries that you find interesting enough to keep you watching and talking about it afterward, but not one that will enact change. 

Check out “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix if you haven’t already and are looking for a good documentary to kill some time between refreshing your social media feeds. 

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.


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