I get it…
You probably already canceled your Netflix account over their release of “Cuties,” the French film that doubles as every pedophile’s dream—but if you haven’t deactivated your account yet, you may want to wait on deleting the app from your TV or phone, because Netflix just put out something you absolutely must see.
“The Social Dilemma” may be the most poignant and timely documentary you watch this year. What it reveals about the motivations behind social media and Google’s personality algorithm—and how they manipulate users into staying logged in as much as possible—is downright frightening.
The documentary is chock full of interviews from many people in the industry—including people who had a hand in programming Google and Facebook—discussing what they think about the work they’ve done and the direction it’s taken the country.
Here’s the trailer:
One of the biggest takeaways from the documentary is how the AI algorithm can predict what we will respond to and will give us what we want to see in order to keep us logged in.
Basically, companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, and more are manipulating users (a term that, the film points out, is only used for drug addicts and those who use computers) into staying logged in as long as possible in order to monetize them correctly.
It sounds benign, but to be honest, watching the process is beyond creepy, and it shows just how “connected” society has become to their electronic devices.
Our Digital Pacifier
To say this documentary is eye-opening would be an understatement.
What you’ll learn by watching it may change the way you look at your smartphone, tablet, or computer forever.
Full disclosure, because of this documentary, I removed certain apps from my own devices in order to avoid the trap of digital addiction.
One of the interviewees in the documentary referred to such devices as “digital pacifiers,” and now I’m having a problem looking at the phone as anything but.
However, there was something that anybody who follows politics should pay attention to. According to the documentary, social media and search engines may be the single biggest contributing factor in the growing political divide that we’ve seen in this country.
The algorithm these platforms use send us to things that they KNOW that we want to see.
So, if the algorithm knows you’re a Liberal and you Google “Donald Trump is…” it’ll say something negative like “Donald Trump is a racist.”
On the other hand, if you’re conservative and you Google that same phrase, you’ll get something positive back, like “Donald Trump is a true patriot.”
Very REAL Consequences
In the film, the interviewees talked about how each political side sees the other as completely crazy because we have the information to back up our own viewpoints without any exposure to the other side.
But the problem is that we’re both operating under a different set of facts, and it’s widening the divide more than anything.
It’s all done so these sites can make a few cents from you viewing an ad on their platform.
It’s scary that a coming civil war could be all about these companies making a few cents per impression.
Part of this is how quickly fake news spreads on social media platforms. The documentary featured statistics from a study that found that fake news spreads six times faster than the truth because that lie just becomes a part of the algorithm. It’s all just another data point for these companies to use as a pitch for the advertisers.
However, these are not even the most frightening thing you’ll learn from watching this. “The Social Dilemma” reveals some very real-world effects that their monetization is having on our youth.
The presenters reveal some unsettling statistics about the exponential rise in self-harm and suicides among teens and pre-teens since 2010-2011—the same time when social media became so prominent on our cell phones.
Young women in particular are strongly affected, causing real and observable changes in behavior in teens born just 5 to 10 years earlier.
This documentary shows that there are VERY real consequences of our digital habits…
And if there is ONE thing you watch before the election, this should be it.
The REAL question is…
Can we stop it?
Or is Big Tech just the proverbial snowball rolling down the mountain?
Time will tell…
We can only hope it ends on a happy note – but if this documentary is accurate, it doesn’t seem like that’s the ending we’ll get.
“Engage rather than sell … Work as a co-creator, not a marketer.” – Tom H. C. Anderson