George Lucas wanted to race cars for a living, but a horrible accident made him change his mind and become a shoemaker. A terrible shoemaking accident caused him to become a bowling alley attendant. After a terrible bowling accident he decided that filmmaking sounded nice and safe. And history was born.
I get addicted to social media and so does everyone else I know. The first thing to start a rehabilitation process is to acknowledge that you have a problem. Then you have to decide to make a change. ‘The Social Dilemma’ is a documentary that teaches us why social apps are so hooking and the dangerous effects of them. This knowledge makes it easier to unplug. Most people know (at least I hope they do) that your phone can be damaging to ourselves in some way, but watching ‘The Social Dilemma’ you realize the specifics.
For instance; the way these tech companies use our psychology against us to create these infinite scroll pleasure loops. These quick dopamine hits keep us on the platforms longer than we need to be, allowing the advertisers more of our attention, eventually more of our money. Not to mention the data collection we grant these companies just by downloading. So much of our information is collected and used to select the most applicable adds, but what else can that data be used for. The tech companies are incredibly un-regulated allowing them too much freedom with our data. Unregulated partly because they’ve popped up recently, and also because the tech industry has a lot of power when it comes to lobbying lawmakers.
This idea is one thing I wanted expanded on more in the doc. They chalk a lot of it up to our politicians being too old to properly understand and thus legislate around the social media platforms. Yet, I’m inclined to see it as willful ignorance because of how many other powerful industries have a stranglehold on our politicians.
And aside from the potential invasion of privacy, the lack of regulations on the Facebooks and IGs of the world lead to massive spreading of misinformation on their platforms. The argument that Facebook uses to defend itself against criticism about this is that they are just providing a platform for people who do whatever they choose to do with it; they are not the content creators. This argument is incredibly flimsy when you realize that a company like Facebook effectively has a huge monopoly on news (and any spreading of information) in the U.S. and around the world. Facebook has so many users that it definitely is a monopoly. The government has an obligation to protect the society against the harmful effects of a monopoly and so in this case should mean both breaking Facebook up and demanding accountability on fact checking and all of that. Now this is getting too deep into whether the government even has the authority to decide what the “truth” is, or whether capitalism is effective in providing a healthy society for people to live in. The documentary doesn’t really dive into this stuff, and so even though I wish it did (it would have to be a mini series at least lol) I’ll focus on the positive things it did shine a light on.
Another enlightening thing it points out are the harmful emotional side effects socia media can have on people, especially young people. The draw of these apps are that you can be constantly interacting with others. The thing is these apps breed too much of a desire to be accepted because of the over abundance of stimulus like ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’. The feeds are filled with people only showing the best of themselves, with picture enhancing filters on everything. So when someone like a teenager scrolls through this it’s like walking through a minefield for their self esteem. The doc shows that depression and suicide rates shot up for teenagers ever since the release of the first smartphones.
I think that information like this doc provides needs to be given to kids growing up now. Actually everyone needs this info to be honest because adults can be as addicted to tech as kids can. ‘The Social Delimma’ is a great movie that consolidates all of these warning signs into a compelling package. My only grievance, and it’s ma all, has to do with the fictionalized story with the doc. They have an actor play this kid who is sucked into following this radical political group from watching to many Alex Jones type videos on his phone. What was funny to me is that the “radical” political group is called the “Extreme Center.” I know the film is trying to be apolitical and not point any fingers at the right or the left, but “Extreme Center” is an oxymoron.