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2020-12-10

A Critique on ‘The Social Dilemma’

Zachary Loeb

Have you seen 'The Social Dilemma'? If so, have you decreased your screen time or changed your social media habits? In this 'Are You A Robot?' episode, Zachary Loeb shares his views of the documentary and suggests what more needs to happen in order to solve the issue of dangerous social media algorithms.

Netflix’s recent documentary, ‘The Social Dilemma’ has led to a lot of people thinking about their own social media habits. The amount of time spent on our phones, scrolling through Facebook and Instagram does eventually add up during the week. The documentary opened our eyes to toxic social media algorithms, those that tease us onto staying on the app for longer. Zachary agrees that the documentary is a great starting point for those who weren’t aware of ethical issues stemming from social media. However, he advises us all to continue researching around these issues.

“One of the things with the current situation of social media is that we’re no longer waiting for the disaster to happen. We’re kind of seeing it right now and the question is: ‘do we do something about it?’”

Furthermore, he guides us to be critically think about whose narrative the documentary followed. ‘The Social Dilemma’ follows the story of ex-Google, Facebook, Twitter workers who stepped away from these companies when they realised that they were dealing with something dangerous and unethical. Zachary explains, however, we should hear the stories of those who were sounding the alarm at the time of developing the ‘like’ button: why are their stories unheard?

Zachary is not so pessimistic, as he is aware that want to see a change in their social media habits and how they use their smartphones. Although the documentary has some useful call-to-action, for example, turning off your notifications, Zachary highlights that it is more of a societal issue. Although the advice in the film is useful, we need to look to those who have the power to make a change.

What were your thoughts on ‘The Social Dilemma’? Join the conversation in our Slack community and let us know what you think!

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