Netflix Original “The Social Dilemma” Gives Insight to the Dark Side of Social Media


Dennis Racket

Social Media Frenzy: A recent documentary on Netflix called “The Social Dilemma” aims to highlight the negative effects of social media. Staff Writer Se’Lah Robinson gives her take on this important and highly trending docudrama.

“The Social Dilemma,” an American docudrama and Netflix original, has recently been trending among people across the nation, and Dubs are no exception. The documentary highlights the manipulation and corruption of social networking apps, such as Instagram and Facebook. Capitalism and privacy breaches are among the areas detailed in the 1 hour and 34 minute docudrama, including interviews with ex-social media workers and splashes of drama and real world examples. The Social Dilemma is a clear opposition, and what some call a whistle blow, to those behind social media. Since it’s release, it has gathered both support and controversy from critics all over the country.

Brought by Jeff Orlowski, the documentary opens up with a montage consisting of real human conflicts. Politically motivated protests, mobs, riots, hospitals taken over by COVID-19 patients, terrorist attacks, news reports and more make up the first 5 minutes. Interviews from former social media workers, mixed in with the scenario of a family with two social media crazed teenagers, highlights the theory that social media could very well be the end to our society. 

Throughout the film Tristan Harris (ex-Google design ethicist), Tim Kendall (former Pinterest president), Jaron Lanier, and more social media experts explain the unseen side of social media through firsthand experience. They depict how social media executives purposely keep their users unhealthily engaged despite the negative impacts of big tech. This is shown through a dramatic display of a teenage boy controlled by A.I. and a young girl with self image issues due to social media. The greater message is the belief that social media can motivate civil unrest, violence, and corruption. The constant posting of propaganda, violence, and hate, often not immediately taken down, can ultimately lead to the worst case scenario of a world gone wrong.

I encourage social media users to take time out of their day to watch The Social Dilemma. Snapchat, Instagram, and other apps are often used among the North Atlanta student body. As seen in Social Dilemma, it is very common for negative feelings to arise from social media which can progress into something worse. Many teens have been witness to or victim of the mental impacts of social media such as cyberbullying, insecurity, and depression. Most of us have seen many disturbing real world events and things that may change/further our opinions. For all the active Dubs on social media, stay safe internet surfing and always remember to know your limit and worth.