If you ever felt like you're addicted to social media or you're just unhappy with how much time you spend on social media, this documentary is for you:
The Social Dilemma touches upon several topics concerning problems with social media as we know it today reaching from the effects it has on kids and preetens to how it is shaping society at large - think about the influence on elections or the ever growing gap between supporters of opposing political parties. On top of that it also explains why the networks enforce this behaviour - all by interviewing (former) engineers and employees of Google, Facebook & co.
Here are some of my thoughts:
Even though I work in the industry, and I know how that the social networks try to keep you on their sites as long as possible (think about why instagram stories are only available 24h), I wasn't aware of the extend of those algorithms. Somehow this was a real eye opener and I cannot get this thought out of my head while scrolling through my feeds.
Showing the effects of social media use on preteens with a graph that showed that rate of sucides in preteens increased a grueling 150% since 2010 left me in shock. I myself sometimes get sucked into the always beautiful faces on instagram, getting insecure about myself but I know this is not reality. I cannot imagine being their age and their idols are these picture perfect influencer. I am very much in favor of the bill that was just proposed in the UK, which suggests to mark photoshopped images as such (source )
Due to the social media reinforcement bubble, everyone sees there own opinion reinforced in social networks, making opposing views unbelieveable and hence eradicating healthy discussion. It even goes so far that different truths are being created.
When asked what the immediate dangers are resulting from this, one interviewee answered: "civil war". This was another part of the movie that left me shocked, but not surprised after seeing demonstrations all around the world getting more violent.
I am curious to hear what you think:
What are your thoughts on the documentary?
What are your ideas on how to solve these problems?
PS: The movie's website also offers tips and further resources on how to deal with the harms of exploitative tech. My favourite short hack: Remove notifications - I only allow email and a few other apps to directly notify me, and it has increased my productivity immensly.