‘The Social Dilemma’ breaks down social platforms


Alysha Izquierdo, Herald Staff

The newly added documentary “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix has been climbing charts, being on its top 10 most popular this week. This documentary hybrid has spoken about the dark side of social media, teaching us users how easily we have been manipulated by these platforms. Never before have so many lives been put into the hands of tech designers, leaving us as vulnerable as ever.

“The Social Dilemma” gives insight on how the world’s most popular apps are used as a branch of business, tracking users behaviors and using our data for research. It harbors all these effects social media has on us but sets light on its manipulation towards uses for financial gain. The design technique behind the internet is meant to create an unnoticeable addiction to our devices, making it a necessity to living life. One of the darkest truths presented as an affect of social media is the increase of suicide rates in teenagers. The horrific upsurge of deprivation appeared after kids became exposed to platforms like Facebook and twitter about a decade ago. Social psychologist Prof. Jonathan says, “​There has been a gigantic increase in depression and anxiety for American teenagers which began right around between 2011 and 2013.” For girls 15 to 19, there has been a 62 percent increase since 2009. Among pre-teens aged ten to 14, the increase is 189 percent. Graphs present throughout the film show a spike of girls in the US being sent to hospital due to attempts of self harming, or failed suicide attempts. Cyber bullying is a common cause of suicide especially in adolescents. Kids are so focused on fitting in that social media has become a guide as to how they should perceive themselves for likes. There is always a constant reminder that they aren’t good enough but when push comes to shove those reminders start to haunt us. Social media is a playing field and if you don’t know how to handle the pressure you won’t be coming out the same person you were. Tim Kedall, an American businessman, has worked for a handful of industries including Pinterest and Facebook. During an interview he briefly states, “​​Extreme outcomes are the logical end conclusion if there is no action on social media reform during the increasing destabilization of civil society.” Today everything is embedded on technology and if it were to suddenly disappear the world would most likely have an economic sink.

Logically, people have been looking to the internet to talk about the accumulating fear caused by this documentary. Ex employees from companies like Facebook, Google, and Instagram have taken us into the depths of social media’s impact on everything. Now these interviews have caused some companies to come out denying most of the claims made from former employees. So can we really trust that “The Social Dilemma” is accurate?