Netflix documentary exposes social media secrets


At the start of this unusual year, Netflix came out with a documentary on the dangers of social media titled “The Social Dilemma.” However, it did not peak people’s interests until recently this fall, when it appeared in Netflix’s top 10 best movies list on the app. This documentary has been very effective, as it has caused many people who’ve watched it to delete at least one of their social media accounts.
This 90 minute film combines both facts from tech experts of past social media employees, as well as a fictional dramatization of how social media affects a family. More specifically, how it can manipulate human psychology and rewire the brain.The actors who played teens in the fictional family were all young, talented actors. Kara Hayward, Sophia Hammons, and Skyler Gisondo all have been in numerous movies; Gisondo having the most well-known roles as he played Nick Daley in “Night at the Museum.”
The documentary begins with an ominous quote from Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” Former head social media employees then began talking about their jobs positions and why they left. Social media and the internet all came into society to do good, but as all these employees explained, nobody expected the negative impacts to come along too. Then the film transitions into showing social media on the news, and introduces the fictional family. Throughout the film it goes back and forth between “Ted Talk” like presentations with former tech employees, as well as a glimpse inside the typical family of different teenagers.
The major theme from this film is the importance of knowledge. These past employees of big name companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc. show how little we really know about these “free” apps we use constantly. Once you watch this eye-opening documentary and realize how much time you spend on social media, you’ll realize what/who the real money-maker is for these billion dollar companies. There’s a lot social media companies do not disclose to its users, which is quite frightening; most social media employees won’t even let their own kids download those apps until high school.
I very much liked how innovative the documentary was made. It included both real social media employees, as well as a fictional, dramatization of how social media affects families and teenagers. Visually, they also used interviews, the mini movie following the family, and graphics to get their information across. This especially would keep young people engaged in the documentary, because new technology has caused kids to struggle with focusing on one constant thing for a long time. The way they also depicted social media as artificial intelligence humans was creepy, but very eye-opening to see how social media is essentially a robot stalker; their programming tracks how long you look at certain things, to know what to show you next to keep you on the app longer.
Not only was this visually well-done, the new information on social media is terrifying, but important to know. It has made me, along with everyone else who has watched it, rethink about their social media use, and in some cases, completely delete it. I highly recommend everyone to watch it, especially if you’re someone with a smartphone and a variety of social media accounts. It will definitely change your life for the better, and hopefully make those billion-dollar companies lose a few users.