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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

The Social Dilemma

After hearing, friends, family and our pastor discuss The Social Dilemma, the docudrama recently released by Netflix, my wife and I spent 90 minutes glued to the tube watching it. To say that it was eye-opening is an understatement.

While neither of us thought we were large users of social media, after listening to interviews with social media subject matter experts, individuals at the forefront of the creation of Facebook, Pinterest and virtual reality pioneers, I came away convinced that I am absolutely clueless about the veracity of anything I look at online whether it be news feeds, or posts from Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

The film explores the rise of social media and the damage it is doing to society by focusing on its exploitation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining. The film also portrays how the design of the apps that we love can nurture an addiction, be used in politics and the effect social media has on mental health (including the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates), and its role in spreading conspiracy theories such as Pizza-gate and aiding groups such as Flat-earthers.

The film features interviews with former Google design ethicist and Center for Humane Technology co-founder Tristan Harris and his co-founder Aza Raskin. Additionally, Asana co-founder and Facebook “like” button co-creator Justin Rosenstein, Harvard University professor Shoshana Zuboff, former Pinterest president Tim Kendall are also featured along with a long list of other research notables too numerous to mention.

The Social Dilemma premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was released on Netflix on September 9, 2020.

When you have the time, I strongly recommend you watch it. At a minimum it will change how you view social media and may even impact what you watch.

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