It is an ordinary day and you are scrolling through your social media apps feed. You are trying to keep your phone down for some time. And suddenly the beeping begins, “You may have new messages on Instagram” or “56 new messages on Whatsapp” or “Your friend tagged you in a post.” And you are back again on your phone. And then you open your Instagram and bam!
There is it- different quotes and reels defining your exact mood or sparking your interest. You are in no mood of starting a conversation, and then you go to Youtube and the recommendations flowing are too catchy to ignore.
The social dilemma is a docu-drama revolving around all that is wrong with social media- with several employees and ex-employees of different web media interviewing- one of them even accept the fact that he had to meet for six-eight months before featuring in this mass expose.
Most of these employees having first-hand insight about social media, left it for ethical reasons. The newfangled technology has moved from being a tool-based to manipulation-based.
The unsafe effect of online media appeared in the film is something we can likewise identify with; the hesitance of putting our smartphones when having supper to being shaky of seeing others prettier and more fruitful than us are a portion of the battles we face each day.
Come to think of it, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat et cetera, all of them, what are they? free tools? There is a famous proverb “There is no such thing as free lunch.”
If advertisers are customers, the apps are the providers- then what or rather who is the product? The movie quoted “If you are not paying for the product, you are the product. It is the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your behaviour that is the product.” Let that sink in …
We are the products. Reels, filters, tags, features, boomerangs, profile picture, status updates, likes and thumbs up and GIFs are all ways to keep us affixed to social media. The apps we use every day have to compete with our time and attention so that they can push these advertisements to us.
“How much of time can we get you to spend? How much of your life can we get you to give to us? Changing what you do, how you think and who you are.”
If you think you are still unscathed by the touch of social media, leave your mobile for seven days. You will get to know the changes social media has done in your life.
Ironic that I was perceiving a narrative condemning how risky and irresistible web-based media in a streaming stage, while likewise calmly checking web-based media as I watch through it.
This documentary blended the interviews with a real-life situation quite smoothly and remarkably. The movie made us realise that just like a magician that knows certain ways that the human brain works- about the objectives even we do not have sufficient knowledge about, the algorithm works in the exact identical ways.
It gets stored in our subconscious brain about which we do not have an idea about and eventually, gradually it becomes a part of us. The interviewees narrate of instances in which even human lost oversight of the algorithm he developed.
When the algorithm is created, it deliberately evolves into itself and soon enough works out without human supervision. While it has created intellectuals and even helped them to become one, it also has created an uncontrollable fraction of harmful effects- from polarisation, higher suicide attempts and depression rate, to misinformation and uproars due to it.
It is no qualm that we spend hours on social media but it feels like a minute. If you think of it, we squander hours and hours unconsciously- what is it in it that attracts us with so much power?
From being a business of advertisement- monetization, social media has advanced an enormous distance- it is taking a profound plunge into our behavioural pattern and altering it as well.
“Only two organisation call their customers “users”- illegal drugs and software,” one of the interviewees tell.
The Social Dilemma is profoundly disturbing and eye-opening documentary that is the need of the hour in the growing times of technology and AI. It is definitely worth watching and not something to be watched just for the sake of it- but something we need to remember and put into actions in our lives.
The generation has stopped evolving dramatically because technology is keeping us under a spell we do not know about. It is shaping us in ways our mind do not have the ability to encapsulate. The social media platforms have made us lab rats.
No doubt, they were created for good but the monetization has made them evil sources for the society. And it is high time we learn the truth about them and save us and society as well.
As the former intellectuals repeatedly urge to “turn off notifications” “to delete as many unuseful apps as possible” “Ignoring recommendations to watch stuff” “Pur extensions on Google to stop recommendations” “fact-check before sharing” “access different kinds of information to have a variety of POVs on a single topic” “make some rules like not using smartphones after a set time at night, no usage of the phone when hanging with family or friends, etc and follow them at all costs”
-My questions to anyone and everyone reading this are: are you trying to reduce the time you’re spending on your phone after knowing all the ways we have been deceived? And will you fact-check before forwarding anything? Or will you listen to the recommendations by Google or Youtube or any other social media platform?
The Social Dilemma is available on Netflix, watch it and share your opinions on the movie and its messages in the comments section below. And keep checking our entertainment section for more such content.