Social Media; Useful or Addictive?

Social Media; Useful or Addictive?

Many are waking up to the fact that social media is controlling our lives. The Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, only reinforces the idea that teens and adults alike have become far too addicted to social media.

In the film, many important ex-employees of companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others were interviewed to explain how addiction to social media is a programmed feature. They reveal that they tap into the psychology behind human nature and try to exploit it for profit. These features have been encoded into each of these companies within their algorithms. 

Over time, the algorithms keep track of search results and use data to predict and influence a user’s actions. This makes it easy for advertising companies to take advantage of users and flood them with ads. Many people have noticed that after only liking one type of thing on social media, many other pop ups related to that same post tend to appear. Others have also claimed that social media platforms and advertisers are listening to people’s conversations as they could be talking about something random then all of a sudden an ad would pop up for whatever they were talking about.

 In some of the interviews, previous officials such as the former Twitter executive, former engineers from Youtube and Google and the founding father of virtual reality who helped build the early stages of social media are now having doubts about their creations because they have started causing a lot of harm. Many of these issues are aimed at teenagers and young adults such as criticisms surrounding the “ideal female body” and eating habits which have begun to affect mental health.

Despite their fears of the future, many of the defectors who were interviewed believe that there is still a chance to recover the good out of social media and leave the bad behind. I believe that this film is very eye-opening towards some pretty substantial issues. People need to wake up to the reality that social media is controlling our lives. This film does a very effective job at highlighting the issues surrounding social media and trying to implement ways of fixing them.

Through it all, The Social Dilemma does an excellent job at raising the alarm towards the threat of saved data and manipulative technology that is reaching into our social media lives and beyond.