The Social Dilemma

  • 19 Sep - 25 Sep, 2020
  • Mag The Weekly

While watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix, a new documentary about the potentially devastating impact of social media on the world, we tried very hard not to check our phone. We hear Tristan Harris, president and a co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology and a former Google employee, talk about the dangers of social media addiction. That’s not, this documentary argues, entirely a personal failing on my part. It’s because Instagram, and the many social media apps like it, have been designed to get users to give their service as much as our lives as we can possibly give. And, once we’ve given that to them, they use that information to predict and change our behaviour. The Social Dilemma which was acquired by Netflix doesn’t exactly reveal any shocking new information, but it does contextualise it in a way that may scare you. If you thought you were safe from manipulation via Silicon Valley, if you were too smart, too technologically savvy, or too strong-willed for that – you thought wrong. No one is safe, not even the former Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest executives who go on record in this film to say how messed up they think this whole thing is.