The netflix documentary-drama hybrid film The Social Dilemma dives deep into the world of social media and how companies utilize it today. It explores how big companies use algorithms on social media to enhance addiction by users and how these companies use personal data to give users the type of content they want to see. This film explores all the fears that the world has about social media and how that is our reality today. They interviewed former tech executives from big companies such as Instagram, Google, and Facebook who share their views on using algorithms to lure consumers in. This film was not at all shocking to me and focused on how the reality of social media is taking over the world.
Being born in 1998, I grew up with the world of social media already starting to kick-off. By the time I was in high school, social media was already being used across many companies to market their products and reach different audiences. I think what resonated with me the most from the documentary was how companies use algorithms to provide people with the type of content they want to see. From my personal experience, I get many ads on my own social media platforms about products I may have Googled earlier in the day or even a company I was talking about the previous day. The viral meme about how “your FBI agent is always listening” goes to show how this happens to every social media user and can have both negative or positive effects on the user. The documentary goes into detail on how much of your data is actually consumed by these companies and how they use these algorithms to show you what you want to see. It is actually very interesting to me because so many people use social media on a daily basis and have no idea that their personal data is being compromised the way that it is.
When it comes to how social media is used to portray perfectionism, I believe everyone has experienced the distorted sense of reality one way or another. I think that social media gives people a very distorted view of reality and this sense of having to be perfect all the time. I have had my Facebook account since the 5th grade so I do consider myself having grown up with social media. Social media quickly became a part of my everyday life as I was always eager to see what my Facebook friends were posting. I think growing up with this could be considered a toxic way of using social media. Being concerned about what everyone is up to and what they are posting is not healthy for anyone. Once I got to college, I became less interested and focused more on my own social media instead of others. I think having all these editing platforms such as, Photoshop, gives people a distorted sense of reality and can really affect others’ mindsets.
What can we do?
The film discusses how human willpower cannot be expected to compete with the future of the most sophisticated AI on the planet. For me personally, I spend a big amount of my day on social media and feel as though I cannot live without it. Besides it being my career, I use it to stay connected with others and to also consume informational media and news. I think as a society we just have to be able to understand what social media really is. The documentary really dives deep into that and how social media is really being used. It is important for everyone to know how their information is being handled and be able to develop a healthy way of using social media. Overall, I think the film does a great job at identifying the reality of social media and how your own personal data is being used on these different social platforms.