The documentary “The Social Dilemma,” directed by Jeff Orlowski, suggests that social media may not be as “free” as most people believe it to be.
The cast of this film includes some of the most influential inventors and designers in social media and technology such as Jaron Lanier, Asa Raskin, and even Tristan Harris. In the film, they were exposing the deepest, darkest parts of social media/technology.
During the past decade, technology has affected people in positive and negative ways. What has come to light, however, is that “the internet and social media can influence suicide-related behavior,” according to the National Library of Medicine’s National Institutes of Health.
Harris described his time working for Google. He said that he was the first to realize that the invention of gmail.com was starting to impact society in a negative way. For him to mitigate this situation, he decided to send out a mass email to his closest friends in the Google corporation. With high hopes, Harris believed that they would be able to reach a solution. The topic of discussion was hot for about a week, and then everyone stopped talking about it.
During this time, Harris knew that the technology that humans built was starting to form a mind of its own.
Throughout the film, Orlowski was able to have several educators and analysts speak on camera and explain how they believed social media and technology were affecting natural human behavior.
“We want to psychologically figure out how to manipulate you as fast as possible, and then give you back that dopamine hit,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, former vice president of growth for Facebook. With this said, the social media companies and pharmaceutical companies are the only two industries in the world that call their consumers “users,” hence the addictive quality.
In the beginning of the film actress Kara Hayward, who plays Kassandra, shows that she is decidedly anti-social media. In the scene where the younger sister in the film is glued to her phone first thing in the morning, Hayward said that she does not think that possessing a phone at the age 11 is appropriate.
Mother of five Deminka Robinson said: “It’s not necessary for elementary and middle school children to have access to social media, unless frequently supervised.” The mother and teacher is aware that anything can happen, and children are susceptible to becoming victims of cyberbullying, which could lead to harmful behavior.
Based on “surveillance capitalism,” according to Harris, major media corporations are able to decide what you like to view, put it on your social media intentionally, thus drawing you into the product more.
Keep in mind the classic saying, “If you’re not paying for the product (like social media), then you are the product.” Since watching the documentary, Dyamond Knight vowed to delete her social media until she was no longer dependent on it, which is something most people should consider doing.