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The Social Dilemma

The Social Dilemna - Jeff Orlowski, Larissa Rhodes

This documentary takes a critical look at the addictive and exploitative aspects of social media platforms and the way that they are having an impact on our society. It goes into depth about how social media's design is meant to nurture an addiction, manipulate people and governments, and spread conspiracy theories and disinformation.

The tools that have been created today are starting to erode the social fabric of how society works” Chamath Palihapitiya, former Vice president of growth at Facebook

There are three main issues raised in this documentary:

1) Social media is designed to monetize our attention by hacking our psychology and modifying our behaviour

This is a new kind of marketplace now. It’s a marketplace that never existed before and it’s a marketplace that trades exclusively in human futures” Shoshana Zuboff

How we can fight back and regain control:

Turn off your digital notifications and instead set times to deliberately check apps and messages. This will help us not to become addicted to the reward mechanism of repeatedly checking your phone

2) Social media is negatively affecting our mental health and the way that we relate to each other

We’ve created an entire global generation of people who are raised within a context where the very meaning of communication, the very meaning of culture is manipulation” John Lanier, founding father of Virtual Reality

How we can fight back and regain control:

Control you own consumption. Make a point to actively search for news articles or specific friend’s or group posts on Facebook or themes on Twitter etc yourself rather than letting algorithms guide what you see or don’t and influence the time you spend watching or reading etc

3) Tech companies need to be regulated in lone with their impact on public life

“Our attention can be mined. We are more profitable to a corporation if we’re spending time staring at a screen, staring at an ad, than if we are living our life in a rich way” Justin Rosenstein, former engineer at Google and Facebook

How we can fight back and regain control:

Actively campaign and support the regulation of tech companies. Help to raise awareness and encourage governments to regulate what social media platforms and other tech companies can do with our data and how much of it they are allowed to gather

For many of us, social media is in the background to much of our lives. We may think that we are already actively choosing what we view by our choice of groups etc but we need to be aware of how tools are actively manipulating and influencing what we do and don’t see in ways that may not be in our best interest.

The Social Dilemma is available via Netflix or various streaming aps like Stremeo

Here is a discussion about the documentary

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