There have been more than plenty of dissections of the negative effects that social media has on our society today. The Social Dilemma adds the interesting wrinkle of bringing in some of the masterminds behind the tech at Facebook and Twitter to describe how truly destructive these websites can be.
The algorithms on these platforms are designed to capture people inside of an echo chamber and force them down rabbit holes that inevitably disconnect them from reality and the people in their lives offline.
But watching these tech assholes talk about how terrible social media is just comes off very inauthentic. It’s like interviewing Dr. Frankenstein and having him sit there like “Yea man, that monster suuuucks. Whoops. Someone should do something about Frankenstein’s monster or we’re all going to die.”
All of those people are still rich and most still work in the tech industry still applying the same attention retention tricks and tactics to lure in users.
I do not mind interviewing the brains behind the operations but I would’ve liked to see more of the people actually affected by their addictions to these apps.
They mentioned suicide rates. Interview one of these teenage girls that attempted to take her life because she didn’t get enough Instagram likes and splice that in after the overly smiley woman who was on the first early development team of IG.
The Social Dilemma also included a little fictional story cut in and out of the interviews about a family where the youngest daughter became obsessed with her looks, the middle son fell into ‘extreme’ politics and the oldest sister urged the family to put their phones down.
And then this little family story ended in the weirdest and dumbest way possible that completely revealed how little this documentary actually understands social media.
The brother gets involved in online political movements, one of which is the ‘extreme center’. Super creative name but not important but lame but yea, not important. Lazy as hell but not important.
Anyway, when you see him in bed consuming all this content, you can see black fists that mirror black lives matters’s logo, there is a black vlogger dramatically and almost threateningly saying ‘I’m willing to do whatever it takes’.
The brother goes to one of these extreme center rallies and gets arrested along with his sister as they both accidentally bump into cops as tensions start to escalate.
But the problem is that The Social Dilemma is attempting to paint all political movements as equally disastrous. This faux-BLM protest is framed in the same light as pizzagate and Charlottesville’s Neonazi rallies.
It’s as if to say protesting, in any form, is inherently evil regardless of whether you are protesting because you believe Hillary Clinton is secretly funding a pedophilia ring in the basement of a local pizza shop or you believe black people should have equal rights. According to this doc, both ideas are equally ‘extreme’.
Instead, they could’ve used BLM protests as a chance to shed light on one of the few positives that social media has created. The ability to connect and organize within your community to enact positive change.
But nope, these are just bad ‘far left’ agendas and it’s the equivalent of a Klan rally.
When I look bad at what I just watched, I can’t help but realize that this documentary was not for me but for middle aged (white) parents whose biggest fear is their children being arrested because they went out to fight for a cause that was not their own.
The Social Dilemma was made for wine moms who are afraid that their 15-year old daughters are one selfie away from creating an OnlyFans page. This isn’t the dire warning to get off your phones and go experience life that it presents itself to be. It’s just for parents who want to bring the family to the Grand Canyon but don’t want their kids fucking texting the whole time. Who cares.