The Social Dilemma

New Netflix documentary highlights the disturbing truths of social media.


The Social Dilemma is a fairly new Netflix movie that exposes the dangers and agendas of major social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as the flawed ethics that companies such as Google and Apple hold. The main purpose of the movie was to examine the depth of social networking.

People who once worked in these companies–people who coded, came up with development, and were even presidents–sat down in this Netflix movie and exposed the true risks the social media companies pose to society. This movie truly shows a “social dilemma”.

Tim Kendall: Former engineer for Google and Facebook and former president of Pinterest giving his interview in the Netflix movie (vox).

The movie starts off by explaining what the intended use for these tools was: an advancement in technology. At one point in time, these tools “actually have created some wonderful things in the world”. Things, as Tim Kendall–a former engineer for Google and  Facebook–explained, “have reunited lost family members [and have] found organ donors”.

The movie establishes early on that the purpose of these advancements in technology was for good use initially.  As technology advanced and became more accessible, our society–even the world as a whole–improved for the better–or at least that was the mission statement. They essentially counter-argued their stance before anyone else could, allowing their credibility to be built. Everyone who made a claim, accusation, or statement in the movie had no visible bias and argued that the companies were good at one point. They began to clarify where the industry turned and when it became more about making a dollar than the consumers well being.

One thing that the movie highlights–and is extremely good at– is the dynamic of good and evil. They present the solutions the industry was attempting to create, but then explain how the industry used that solution for monetary gain and lost sight of the original problem.

Part of The Social Dilemma trailer. One of the main ideas explored in the movie (Netflix).

The movie also captivates the audience’s attention by acting out real-world scenarios. For instance, over the summer, the Black Lives Matter movement was possibly the biggest topic on all social media platforms. So much so that virtually everything was video recorded. Without a doubt, whether it be good or bad, social media amplified the movement. 

Tristan Harris, a former design Ethicist for Google, explains that anytime something remotely controversial goes on, Twitter and Instagram program their apps to put the most controversial posts on your feed. This way, people will have multiple opinions on it and reshare, retweet, and repost. The app’s goal isn’t to have civil discourse, but rather get their app to be used so often, it creates a “boom” in the amount of money they make. Basically, it’s adding fuel to the fire.  

The average Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube user does not pay for the apps they use. Thus, simply them being on the app, streams revenue for the companies. Quote from the movie. (

It’s no doubt that social media is incredibly addictive; it’s known as the “new generation heroin”. It’s scary to know how the industry of social networking gauges our attention. That being said, the movie explains how we shouldn’t feel guilty for being on our phones for hours at a time. It was literally created for us to be on it for hours at a time. 

The selection of people who were interviewed, which is well over 15 experts who worked in different fields of big companies, is impressive. They all had the same general consensus–that social networking is dangerous. It’s hard to refute what they’re saying when they all practically said the exact same thing.

Netflix created fear amongst its viewers. I know I’ll never be able to look at Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or Facebook the same. It’s extremely bold of them to target such big names and multi-billion dollar companies and not expect a backlash.

That being said, I highly recommend this movie to everyone. It’s well thought out and looks at issues from multiple angles. It can’t get any more reliable, as the people who have spoken in the movie have worked in different levels of companies yet have the same things to say. I’ll argue it’s a movie you’ll remember forever.