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The Social Dilemma is a 2020 American docudrama film directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis. The documentary examines how social media's design nurtures addiction to maximize profit and its ability to manipulate people's views, emotions, and behavior, and spread conspiracy theories and disinformation. The film also examines social media's effect on mental health, in particular the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates.

The Social Dilemma
Promotional poster
Directed byJeff Orlowski
Written by
Produced byLarissa Rhodes
Starring
Cinematography
  • John Behrens
  • Jonathan Pope
Edited byDavis Coombe
Music byMark A. Crawford
Production
companies
  • Exposure Labs
  • Argent Pictures
  • The Space Program
Distributed byNetflix
Release dates
  • January 26, 2020 (2020-01-26) (Sundance)
  • September 9, 2020 (2020-09-09) (United States)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

The film features interviews with many former employees, executives, and other professionals from top tech companies like Google and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The interviewees draw on their primary experiences at the companies they respectively worked in to discuss how such companies and platforms have caused negative problematic social, political, and cultural consequences. Some of the interviewees qualify that social media platforms and big tech companies have provided some positive change for society as well. The interviewees discuss social media's role in political polarization in the United States and the influence that algorithmic advertising has had on political radicalization. The film also examines how social media platforms have impacted the spread of fake news and how governments have used social media as a tool for propaganda. These interviews are presented alongside scripted dramatizations of a teenager's social media addiction. These dramatizations draw attention to the raising concern of the radicalization of youth on the internet.

Contents

The film dives into the psychological underpinnings and the manipulation techniques by which, it claims, social media and technology companies addict users. People's online activity are watched, tracked, and measured by these companies, who then use this data to build artificial intelligence models that predict the actions of their users. Tristan Harris, former Google design ethicist and co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, explains in the documentary that there are three main goals of tech companies:

  1. The engagement goal: to increase usage and to make sure users continue scrolling.
  2. The growth goal: to ensure users are coming back and inviting friends that invite even more friends.
  3. The advertisement goal: to make sure that while the above two goals are happening, the companies are also making as much money as possible from advertisements.

Harris likens the manipulation tactics used in technology to magic: how do you persuade people by manipulating what they see and how can this psychology be integrated into technology?

Another interviewee, Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at NYU Stern School of Business, brings up the concerns of mental health in relation to social media. There has been an increase in depression and suicide rates among teens and young adults since the early 2000s and Haidt states that this pattern points to the year social media was made available on mobile phones.

The dangers of fake news are also discussed in the documentary. Harris argues that this is a "disinformation-for-profit business model" and that companies make more money by allowing "unregulated messages to reach anyone for the best price". According to a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, fake news on Twitter spreads six times faster than true news. Wikipedia is mentioned as a neutral landscape that shows all users the exact same page without tailoring it for the individual or monetizing it.

Orlowski uses a cast of actors to portray this in the dramatization of the issues covered in the film. The narrative features a family of five, portraying various perspectives of social media usage and its influence on their daily lives. The main character, Ben, is a teenager who falls deeper into social media addiction under the manipulation of the Engagement, Growth, and Advertisement AIs. Cassandra, Ben's sister, believes that one can stay connected to the Internet without a cellphone and she represents individuals free from the manipulation of social media and technology, unlike other members of her family. Isla, the youngest daughter in the family, represents how teenage girls fall into depression and lose their sense of identity due to social media.

One scene in the narrative shows the family at the dinner table. The mother proposes that everyone keep their cell phones locked in a KitchenSafe prior to eating dinner but when a notification buzzes on someone's phone, Isla gets up from the table and tries to open the KitchenSafe. She results to shattering the KitchenSafe with a tool after a few failed attempts, retrieving her own phone but damaging Ben's phone screen in the process. In return for a new phone screen, Ben promises his mother that he will refrain from using the phone for a week. At the end of the scene, Cassandra is seen sitting alone at the dinner table.

Halfway through the agreed time period, Ben breaks his promise, and progressively becomes addicted to social media. The AIs behind the screen previously analyzed that pushing "Extreme Center" political content on his social media page has a 62.3% chance of long-term engagement for Ben. Once Ben starts watching one video recommended by the AIs, he becomes so immersed in the content containing propaganda and conspiracy theories that it affects his daily life, leading him to skip soccer practice and disregard friends and family. Ultimately, towards the end of the film, Ben gets involved in an "Extreme Center" rally that escalates and becomes violent. He gets pinned down and detained by the police when he tries to make his way to Cassandra, who spots Ben in the crowd on her way to school.

The interviewees restate their fear about the role of artificial intelligence in social media and the influence these platforms have on society, arguing that "something needs to change." Aza Raskin, a former employee at Firefox and Mozilla and co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, explains that the Silicon Valley started around the “idea of humane technology,” but companies have strayed away from the original intentions of technology.

In the ending credits of the documentary, the interviewees propose ways the audience can take action to fight back, such as turning off notifications, never accepting recommended videos on YouTube, using search engines that do not retain search history, and establishing rules in the house on cell phone usage.

The Social Dilemma centers on the social and cultural impact of social media usage on regular users, with a focus on algorithmically enabled forms of behavior modification and psychological manipulation. Additionally, the film depicts an array of related themes including but not limited political manipulation, technological addiction, echo chambers, fake news, depression and anxiety. The clips throughout the documentary focus on one example of a family acted out by the cast to convey the vast consequences of social media usage impacting their daily lives.

One interviewee, Tim Kendall, the former director of Facebook, spoke up on the alarming goal of Facebook: updating the app with increased addictiveness for a consistent boost in engagement. A former Google designer Tristan Harris compares the addiction level to a “Vegas slot machine” as users “check their phones hoping that they have a notification, as it’s like they are pulling the lever of a slot machine hoping they hit the jackpot.” As the goal of social media compared to when platforms were first introduced has changed and skyrocketed in popularity amongst society during the transition from the 20th to the 21st century, social media, as Harris describes it, is no longer considered a tool. Unlike tools used exclusively when needed by society, social media platforms strive to enhance advanced methods to gravitate users to click on the apps for additional content. The immersion of users in this app exposed to countless information, according to Kendall, could potentially lead to tension within society. Misinformation and fake news are commonly spread, and users unable to distinguish between fake and real news results in differences in ideology and societal division.

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist and author, highlighted the influence of social media on depression and anxiety, especially in younger adolescents. In the documentary, there was a share of the statistics of depression, self-harm, and suicide leading to hospitalization, specifically in American teen girls resulting from social media use. The number of hospitalizations remained stable until around 2011 and rose a significant 62 percent in older teen girls (ages 15–19) and up 189 percent in younger teen girls (ages 10–14) since 2009 in the United States. Additionally, the same pattern is shown in the rates of suicide, which increased 70 percent in older teen girls and 151 percent in younger teen girls compared now to 2001–2010. According to Haidt's interview, people born after 1996 have grown up in a society where social media usage is the norm, thus resulting in consistent exposure to overwhelming content from a young age. Early exposure to these platforms has been one reason for the exponential rise of depression and self-harm.

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Inspiration

Jeff Orlowski, who is mostly known for his work in Chasing Coral and Chasing Ice, began production for this documentary in 2018 and concluded it in 2019. When asked where his inspiration came from during the film's panel at Deadline's Contenders Documentary event, Orlowski says that he has “always been curious about big systemic and societal challenges.” “One of the subjects of The Social Dilemma referenced this technology as a ‘climate change of culture’ and that sort of shattered my brain—that, invisibly, a handful of designers in Silicon Valley are writing code that is shaping the lives of billions of people around the planet.” He then took it upon himself to make people aware of the effects that technology had on the people using it. Orlowski also stated, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”

Via The Social Dilemma's website, Orlowski further explained:

We were drawn to tell the stories of our changing glaciers and changing coral reefs because they were powerful signs of a huge global issue facing humanity: climate change. When we started talking with Tristan Harris and the Center for Humane Technology, we saw a direct parallel between the threat posed by the fossil fuel industry and the threat posed by our technology platforms. Harris calls this “the climate change of culture,” an invisible force that is shaping how the world gets its information and understands truth. Our hope has always been to work on big issues, and we now see the "social dilemma” as a problem beneath all our other problems.

The film's graphics, animation, & visual effects were made by Mass FX Media and produced by Netflix.

The film's genre is science & natural docs.

Casting

Interviewees

Actors

Narrative casting by Jenny Jue

Soundtrack

All music is composed by Mark Crawford.

Through the use of "human-produced" and mechanical sounds, as Mark Crawford described in The Social Dilemma interview, he displayed the alarming impacts of social media through this soundtrack. There was an overall emphasis on the concept of "dilemma" pertaining to the documentary throughout each song.

No.TitleLength
1."Logos"0:34
2."A Totally Normal World"2:31
3."Am I Really That Bad"0:49
4."Server Room"3:45
5."A Call to Arms"2:00
6."Manipulated"2:28
7."Magic Tricks"1:49
8."Hooked in the Classroom"1:09
9."Growth Hacking"1:44
10."Programmed at a Deeper Level"1:29
11."Addicted"1:44
12."Kitchen Safe"0:53
13."Family Dinner"0:57
14."The Kids are Not Alright"0:34
15."The Bet"1:12
16."Perceptions of Beauty"2:22
17."Theremin Lullaby"1:30
18."Time Offline"0:53
19."Hominid Brains"2:12
20."The AI's Are Losing"0:39
21."Machine Learning"1:33
22."Late Night Snack"0:52
23."Checkmate Humanity"1:49
24."The Sliding Scale"2:51
25."Exponential Hearsay"3:54
26."Myanmar"3:09
27."Caught in the Crowd"4:37
28."Rapid Degration of Society"3:16
29."Senate Hearing"5:00
30."Justin Drops the Mic"4:02
31."Shut it Down"3:09
32."Welcome to the Drum Machine"2:02
33."I Put a Spell on You"2:53
Total length:60:10

The Social Dilemma premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2020, and was released worldwide on Netflix on September 9, 2020. The documentary went on to be viewed in 38,000,000 homes within the first 28 days of release. It won two awards out of seven nominations at the 73rd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in 2021.

The film is approximately 94 minutes long and can only be accessed through having a Netflix subscription. However, a free 40 minute version of the film can be accessed by requesting it through the official page of The Social Dilemma.

Critical response

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On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 85% based on 66 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Clear-eyed and comprehensive, The Social Dilemma presents a sobering analysis of our data-mined present." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 78 out of 100, based on nine critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

ABC News's Mark Kennedy called the film "an eye-opening look into the way social media is designed to create addiction and manipulate our behavior, told by some of the very people who supervised the systems at places like Facebook, Google, and Twitter".

Nell Minow of RogerEbert.com offered a more mixed review, giving the film three stars out of four. She noted that the film "asks fundamental and existential questions" of humanity's potential self-destruction through its own use of computer technology, and praised its "exceptional" use of confessions from leaders and key players in the social media industry, but criticized the "poorly-conceived dramatic re-enactment of some of the perils of social media." She stated that "even the wonderfully talented Skyler Gisondo cannot make a sequence work where he plays a teenager seduced by extremist disinformation, and the scenes with Vincent Kartheiser embodying the formulas that fight our efforts to pay attention to anything outside of the online world are just silly."

The film was also criticized for being simplistic, for its unhelpful or unnecessary dramatizations, and for failing to include many longstanding and diverse critics of social media. Adi Robertson of The Verge noted the film offered a "familiar and simplistic assessment of how the internet has changed our lives." Casey Newton of The Verge argued that the film "is ridiculous[.] The dramatized segments include a fictional trio of sociopaths working inside an unnamed social network to design bespoke push notifications to distract their users. They show an anguished family struggling to get the children to put their phones away during dinner. And the ominous piano score that pervades every scene, rather than ratcheting up the tension, gives it all the feeling of camp."

Pranav Malhotra of Slate stated that the film "plays up well-worn dystopian narratives surrounding technology," and "depend[s] on tired (and not helpful) tropes about technology as the sole cause of harm, especially to children." He also criticized the film for failing to acknowledge activists and commentators who have long-criticized social media, saying that "it could have also given space to critical internet and media scholars like Safiya Noble, Sarah T. Roberts, and Siva Vaidhyanathan, just to name a few, who continue to write about how broader structural inequalities are reflected in and often amplified by the practices of big technology companies."

Kevin Crust of the Orlando Sentinel analogizes The Social Dilemma’s warning of technology corporations’ encroachment on civilians’ personal data to climate-crisis documentaries’ call to action on preserving the planet earth. Crust discloses he has “been muttering [the information presented in The Social Dilemma] to [him]self [for] the last five years” and that The Social Dilemma does a great job inviting “smarter, better informed people” to expose social media platforms and search engines. Crust ends his review by commenting that The Social Dilemma's exposé on search engines and social media platforms terrified him, rating the documentary three and a half stars out of four stars.

After providing a brief synopsis of the documentary's main points, Anna Volk from Cherwell praises Orloski's deliberate choice in intensifying the music, rather than focusing on the contributions of the creators of Facebook and Google to the discourse surrounding technology companies’ capitalization on personal data as distasteful. Volk contrasts the documentary style of The Social Dilemma with Orlowski's award-winning 2014 documentary Chasing Ice, noting that "[Orlowski] didn’t seem quite ready to let the power of facts and narrative speak for themselves [...] this forced dramatisation took away the impact of the testimonials themselves.” Further, Volk writes that the film should have further explored solutions to the unregulated psychological tactics of major social networking company.

Girish Devika from The New York Times draws a comparison between this documentary and Orlowski's Chasing Coral and Chasing Ice since among the three documentaries, Orlowski “takes a reality that can seem too colossal and abstract for a layperson to grasp, let alone care about, and scales it down to a human level.”

Devika points out that the fictional narrative Orlowski implemented to illustrate the documentary's main points about social media's influence on one's psychology reads hyperbolic because the documentary's message suffers at the expense of a dramatized screenplay. Devika ends her review remarking one can stream the documentary on Netflix, “where it’ll become another node in the service’s data-based algorithm.”

Industry response

Facebook released a statement on its about page that the film “gives a distorted view of how social media platforms work to create a convenient scapegoat for what are difficult and complex societal problems".

Mozilla employees Ashley Boyd and Audrey Hingle note that while the "making, release and popularity of The Social Dilemma represents a major milestone towards [the goal of] building a movement of internet users who understand social media’s impact and who demand better from platforms", the film would have benefited from featuring more diverse voices.

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
ACE Eddie Awards April 17, 2021 Best Edited Documentary (Feature) Davis Coombe Nominated
ASCAP Screen Music Awards May 17, 2021 TV Documentary Score of the Year Mark A. Crawford Nominated
British Academy Film Awards April 11, 2021 Best Documentary Jeff Orlowski and Larissa Rhodes Nominated
BFE Cut Above Awards March 5, 2021 Best Edited Single Documentary or Non-Fiction Programme Davis Coombe Won
Boulder International Film Festival March 8, 2020 Best Social Impact Film The Social Dilemma Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards December 21, 2020 Best Documentary The Social Dilemma Nominated
Cinema Audio Society Awards April 17, 2021 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion Picture – Documentary Mark A. Crawford, Scott R. Lewis, Mark Venezia, and Jason Butler Nominated
Cinema Eye Honors Awards March 9, 2021 Audience Choice Prize The Social Dilemma Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation Simon Barker, Matthew Poliquin, Matt Schultz, and Shawna Schultz Nominated
Critics' Choice Documentary Awards November 16, 2020 Best Documentary Feature The Social Dilemma Nominated
Best Political Documentary The Social Dilemma Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards April 16, 2021 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Feature Documentary Richard Gould, James Spencer, and Andrea Gard Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards September 12, 2021 Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special Larissa Rhodes, Daniel Wright, and Stacey Piculell Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program Jeff Orlowski Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program Vickie Curtis, Davis Coombe, and Jeff Orlowski Won
Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program John Behrens and Jonathan Pope Nominated
Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score) Mark A. Crawford Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program Davis Coombe Won
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program (Single or Multi-Camera) Richard Gould, James Spencer, and Andrea Gard Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards January 11, 2021 Best Documentary The Social Dilemma Runner-up
St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards January 18, 2021 Best Documentary Film The Social Dilemma Nominated
Webby Awards May 18, 2021 Advertising, Media & PR – Branded Content – Politics & Advocacy Exposure Labs Won
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The Social Dilemma Article Talk Language Watch Edit This article has multiple issues Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page Learn how and when to remove these template messages This article may be in need of reorganization to comply with Wikipedia s layout guidelines Please help by editing the article to make improvements to the overall structure May 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message This article s tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia See Wikipedia s guide to writing better articles for suggestions May 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message Learn how and when to remove this template message The Social Dilemma is a 2020 American docudrama film directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski Davis Coombe and Vickie Curtis The documentary examines how social media s design nurtures addiction to maximize profit and its ability to manipulate people s views emotions and behavior and spread conspiracy theories and disinformation The film also examines social media s effect on mental health in particular the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates The Social DilemmaPromotional posterDirected byJeff OrlowskiWritten byDavis Coombe Vickie Curtis Jeff OrlowskiProduced byLarissa RhodesStarringTristan Harris Aza Raskin Jeff Seibert Justin Rosenstein Shoshana Zuboff Jaron Lanier Skyler Gisondo Kara Hayward Vincent Kartheiser Anna LembkeCinematographyJohn Behrens Jonathan PopeEdited byDavis CoombeMusic byMark A CrawfordProduction companiesExposure Labs Argent Pictures The Space ProgramDistributed byNetflixRelease datesJanuary 26 2020 2020 01 26 Sundance September 9 2020 2020 09 09 United States Running time94 minutesCountryUnited StatesLanguageEnglish The film features interviews with many former employees executives and other professionals from top tech companies like Google and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter The interviewees draw on their primary experiences at the companies they respectively worked in to discuss how such companies and platforms have caused negative problematic social political and cultural consequences Some of the interviewees qualify that social media platforms and big tech companies have provided some positive change for society as well The interviewees discuss social media s role in political polarization in the United States and the influence that algorithmic advertising has had on political radicalization The film also examines how social media platforms have impacted the spread of fake news and how governments have used social media as a tool for propaganda These interviews are presented alongside scripted dramatizations of a teenager s social media addiction These dramatizations draw attention to the raising concern of the radicalization of youth on the internet Contents 1 Synopsis 2 Themes 3 Production 3 1 Inspiration 3 2 Casting 3 2 1 Interviewees 3 2 2 Actors 3 3 Soundtrack 4 Release 5 Reception 5 1 Critical response 5 2 Industry response 5 3 Accolades 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External linksSynopsis EditThe film dives into the psychological underpinnings and the manipulation techniques by which it claims social media and technology companies addict users People s online activity are watched tracked and measured by these companies who then use this data to build artificial intelligence models that predict the actions of their users Tristan Harris former Google design ethicist and co founder of the Center for Humane Technology explains in the documentary that there are three main goals of tech companies The engagement goal to increase usage and to make sure users continue scrolling The growth goal to ensure users are coming back and inviting friends that invite even more friends The advertisement goal to make sure that while the above two goals are happening the companies are also making as much money as possible from advertisements Harris likens the manipulation tactics used in technology to magic how do you persuade people by manipulating what they see and how can this psychology be integrated into technology Another interviewee Jonathan Haidt a social psychologist at NYU Stern School of Business brings up the concerns of mental health in relation to social media There has been an increase in depression and suicide rates among teens and young adults since the early 2000s 1 and Haidt states that this pattern points to the year social media was made available on mobile phones The dangers of fake news are also discussed in the documentary Harris argues that this is a disinformation for profit business model and that companies make more money by allowing unregulated messages to reach anyone for the best price According to a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology fake news on Twitter spreads six times faster than true news 2 Wikipedia is mentioned as a neutral landscape that shows all users the exact same page without tailoring it for the individual or monetizing it Orlowski uses a cast of actors to portray this in the dramatization of the issues covered in the film The narrative features a family of five portraying various perspectives of social media usage and its influence on their daily lives The main character Ben is a teenager who falls deeper into social media addiction under the manipulation of the Engagement Growth and Advertisement AIs Cassandra Ben s sister believes that one can stay connected to the Internet without a cellphone and she represents individuals free from the manipulation of social media and technology unlike other members of her family Isla the youngest daughter in the family represents how teenage girls fall into depression and lose their sense of identity due to social media 3 One scene in the narrative shows the family at the dinner table The mother proposes that everyone keep their cell phones locked in a KitchenSafe prior to eating dinner but when a notification buzzes on someone s phone Isla gets up from the table and tries to open the KitchenSafe She results to shattering the KitchenSafe with a tool after a few failed attempts retrieving her own phone but damaging Ben s phone screen in the process In return for a new phone screen Ben promises his mother that he will refrain from using the phone for a week At the end of the scene Cassandra is seen sitting alone at the dinner table Halfway through the agreed time period Ben breaks his promise and progressively becomes addicted to social media The AIs behind the screen previously analyzed that pushing Extreme Center political content on his social media page has a 62 3 chance of long term engagement for Ben Once Ben starts watching one video recommended by the AIs he becomes so immersed in the content containing propaganda and conspiracy theories that it affects his daily life leading him to skip soccer practice and disregard friends and family Ultimately towards the end of the film Ben gets involved in an Extreme Center rally that escalates and becomes violent He gets pinned down and detained by the police when he tries to make his way to Cassandra who spots Ben in the crowd on her way to school The interviewees restate their fear about the role of artificial intelligence in social media and the influence these platforms have on society arguing that something needs to change Aza Raskin a former employee at Firefox and Mozilla and co founder of the Center for Humane Technology explains that the Silicon Valley started around the idea of humane technology but companies have strayed away from the original intentions of technology In the ending credits of the documentary the interviewees propose ways the audience can take action to fight back such as turning off notifications never accepting recommended videos on YouTube using search engines that do not retain search history and establishing rules in the house on cell phone usage Themes EditThe Social Dilemma centers on the social and cultural impact of social media usage on regular users with a focus on algorithmically enabled forms of behavior modification and psychological manipulation Additionally the film depicts an array of related themes including but not limited political manipulation technological addiction echo chambers fake news depression and anxiety 4 The clips throughout the documentary focus on one example of a family acted out by the cast to convey the vast consequences of social media usage impacting their daily lives One interviewee Tim Kendall the former director of Facebook spoke up on the alarming goal of Facebook updating the app with increased addictiveness for a consistent boost in engagement 5 A former Google designer Tristan Harris compares the addiction level to a Vegas slot machine as users check their phones hoping that they have a notification as it s like they are pulling the lever of a slot machine hoping they hit the jackpot 6 As the goal of social media compared to when platforms were first introduced has changed and skyrocketed in popularity amongst society during the transition from the 20th to the 21st century social media as Harris describes it is no longer considered a tool 6 Unlike tools used exclusively when needed by society social media platforms strive to enhance advanced methods to gravitate users to click on the apps for additional content The immersion of users in this app exposed to countless information according to Kendall could potentially lead to tension within society 5 Misinformation and fake news are commonly spread and users unable to distinguish between fake and real news results in differences in ideology and societal division Jonathan Haidt a social psychologist and author highlighted the influence of social media on depression and anxiety especially in younger adolescents In the documentary there was a share of the statistics of depression self harm and suicide leading to hospitalization specifically in American teen girls resulting from social media use The number of hospitalizations remained stable until around 2011 and rose a significant 62 percent in older teen girls ages 15 19 and up 189 percent in younger teen girls ages 10 14 since 2009 in the United States Additionally the same pattern is shown in the rates of suicide which increased 70 percent in older teen girls and 151 percent in younger teen girls compared now to 2001 2010 According to Haidt s interview people born after 1996 have grown up in a society where social media usage is the norm thus resulting in consistent exposure to overwhelming content from a young age Early exposure to these platforms has been one reason for the exponential rise of depression and self harm Production EditThis section needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources The Social Dilemma news newspapers books scholar JSTOR October 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message Inspiration Edit Jeff Orlowski who is mostly known for his work in Chasing Coral and Chasing Ice began production for this documentary in 2018 and concluded it in 2019 When asked where his inspiration came from during the film s panel at Deadline s Contenders Documentary event Orlowski says that he has always been curious about big systemic and societal challenges One of the subjects of The Social Dilemma referenced this technology as a climate change of culture and that sort of shattered my brain that invisibly a handful of designers in Silicon Valley are writing code that is shaping the lives of billions of people around the planet 7 He then took it upon himself to make people aware of the effects that technology had on the people using it Orlowski also stated If you re not paying for the product you are the product 7 Via The Social Dilemma s website Orlowski further explained 8 We were drawn to tell the stories of our changing glaciers and changing coral reefs because they were powerful signs of a huge global issue facing humanity climate change When we started talking with Tristan Harris and the Center for Humane Technology we saw a direct parallel between the threat posed by the fossil fuel industry and the threat posed by our technology platforms Harris calls this the climate change of culture an invisible force that is shaping how the world gets its information and understands truth Our hope has always been to work on big issues and we now see the social dilemma as a problem beneath all our other problems The film s graphics animation amp visual effects were made by Mass FX Media and produced by Netflix The film s genre is science amp natural docs Casting Edit Interviewees Edit Tristan Harris former Google design ethicist 9 co founder and CEO of Apture 2007 10 and co founder of the Center for Humane Technology 11 co host of podcast Your Undivided Attention with Aza Raskin 12 Tim Kendall former director of monetization at Facebook 5 former President of Pinterest and CEO of Moment a mobile application that tracks screen time 13 Jaron Lanier American computer philosophy writer computer scientist visual artist and composer of contemporary classical music author of Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now 2018 14 Roger McNamee early investor at Facebook 15 author of Zucked Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe 2019 and cofounder of venture capital firm Elevation Partners 16 Aza Raskin former head of user experience at Mozilla Labs and creative lead for Firefox 17 co founder of the Center for Humane Technology 11 and founder of Massive Health 18 inventor of the infinite scroll 19 Justin Rosenstein former Facebook engineering manager 20 former Google product manager 21 and co founder of Asana 22 and One Project Shoshana Zuboff Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism 2019 23 Jeff Seibert former head of product at Twitter 24 serial tech entrepreneur and co founder of Digits 25 Anna Lembke medical director of addiction medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine 26 Jonathan Haidt social psychologist at the New York University Stern School of Business 27 author of The Righteous Mind Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion 2012 and coauthor of The Coddling of the American Mind How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure 2018 28 Sandy Parakilas former platform operations manager at Facebook 29 and former product manager at Uber 30 31 Cathy O Neil data scientist and author of Weapons of Math Destruction 2016 32 Randima Fernando former product manager at Nvidia former executive director at Mindful Schools and co founder and executive director of Center For Humane Technology 33 Joe Toscano former experience design consultant at Google and author of Automating Humanity 2018 34 Bailey Richardson early team member of Instagram and partner at People amp Company 35 Rashida Richardson assistant professor of law and political science at Northeastern University School of Law 36 and former director of policy research at AI Now Institute 37 38 Guillaume Chaslot former software engineer at Google YouTube and founder of AlgoTransparency 39 Renee Diresta technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory 40 and former head of policy at Data for Democracy Cynthia M Wong former senior Internet researcher at Human Rights Watch 41 Alex Roetter former senior vice president of engineering at Twitter 42 Lynn Fox former director of corporate PR and Mac PR at Apple 43 former executive of corporate communications at Google 44 Actors Edit Skyler Gisondo as Ben 45 Kara Hayward as Cassandra 45 Sophia Hammons as Isla 45 Chris Grundy as Step Dad Barbara Gehring as Mother 46 Vincent Kartheiser as Artificial Intelligence 45 Catalina Garayoa as Rebecca Sergio Villarreal as Luiz Narrative casting by Jenny Jue 46 Soundtrack Edit All music is composed by Mark Crawford Through the use of human produced and mechanical sounds as Mark Crawford described in The Social Dilemma interview he displayed the alarming impacts of social media through this soundtrack 47 There was an overall emphasis on the concept of dilemma pertaining to the documentary throughout each song 47 No TitleLength1 Logos 0 342 A Totally Normal World 2 313 Am I Really That Bad 0 494 Server Room 3 455 A Call to Arms 2 006 Manipulated 2 287 Magic Tricks 1 498 Hooked in the Classroom 1 099 Growth Hacking 1 4410 Programmed at a Deeper Level 1 2911 Addicted 1 4412 Kitchen Safe 0 5313 Family Dinner 0 5714 The Kids are Not Alright 0 3415 The Bet 1 1216 Perceptions of Beauty 2 2217 Theremin Lullaby 1 3018 Time Offline 0 5319 Hominid Brains 2 1220 The AI s Are Losing 0 3921 Machine Learning 1 3322 Late Night Snack 0 5223 Checkmate Humanity 1 4924 The Sliding Scale 2 5125 Exponential Hearsay 3 5426 Myanmar 3 0927 Caught in the Crowd 4 3728 Rapid Degration of Society 3 1629 Senate Hearing 5 0030 Justin Drops the Mic 4 0231 Shut it Down 3 0932 Welcome to the Drum Machine 2 0233 I Put a Spell on You 2 53Total length 60 10Release EditThe Social Dilemma premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on January 26 2020 and was released worldwide on Netflix on September 9 2020 48 The documentary went on to be viewed in 38 000 000 homes within the first 28 days of release 49 It won two awards out of seven nominations at the 73rd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in 2021 50 The film is approximately 94 minutes long and can only be accessed through having a Netflix subscription However a free 40 minute version of the film can be accessed by requesting it through the official page of The Social Dilemma 8 Reception EditCritical response Edit This article contains text that is written in a promotional tone Please help improve it by removing promotional language and inappropriate external links and by adding encyclopedic text written from a neutral point of view May 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 85 based on 66 reviews with an average rating of 7 2 10 The website s critics consensus reads Clear eyed and comprehensive The Social Dilemma presents a sobering analysis of our data mined present 51 On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 78 out of 100 based on nine critics indicating generally favorable reviews 52 ABC News s Mark Kennedy called the film an eye opening look into the way social media is designed to create addiction and manipulate our behavior told by some of the very people who supervised the systems at places like Facebook Google and Twitter 53 Nell Minow of RogerEbert com offered a more mixed review giving the film three stars out of four She noted that the film asks fundamental and existential questions of humanity s potential self destruction through its own use of computer technology and praised its exceptional use of confessions from leaders and key players in the social media industry but criticized the poorly conceived dramatic re enactment of some of the perils of social media She stated that even the wonderfully talented Skyler Gisondo cannot make a sequence work where he plays a teenager seduced by extremist disinformation and the scenes with Vincent Kartheiser embodying the formulas that fight our efforts to pay attention to anything outside of the online world are just silly 54 The film was also criticized for being simplistic for its unhelpful or unnecessary dramatizations and for failing to include many longstanding and diverse critics of social media Adi Robertson of The Verge noted the film offered a familiar and simplistic assessment of how the internet has changed our lives 55 Casey Newton of The Verge argued that the film is ridiculous The dramatized segments include a fictional trio of sociopaths working inside an unnamed social network to design bespoke push notifications to distract their users They show an anguished family struggling to get the children to put their phones away during dinner And the ominous piano score that pervades every scene rather than ratcheting up the tension gives it all the feeling of camp 56 Pranav Malhotra of Slate stated that the film plays up well worn dystopian narratives surrounding technology and depend s on tired and not helpful tropes about technology as the sole cause of harm especially to children He also criticized the film for failing to acknowledge activists and commentators who have long criticized social media saying that it could have also given space to critical internet and media scholars like Safiya Noble Sarah T Roberts and Siva Vaidhyanathan just to name a few who continue to write about how broader structural inequalities are reflected in and often amplified by the practices of big technology companies 57 Kevin Crust of the Orlando Sentinel analogizes The Social Dilemma s warning of technology corporations encroachment on civilians personal data to climate crisis documentaries call to action on preserving the planet earth Crust discloses he has been muttering the information presented in The Social Dilemma to him self for the last five years 58 and that The Social Dilemma does a great job inviting smarter better informed people to expose social media platforms and search engines Crust ends his review by commenting that The Social Dilemma s expose on search engines and social media platforms terrified him rating the documentary three and a half stars out of four stars After providing a brief synopsis of the documentary s main points Anna Volk from Cherwell praises Orloski s deliberate choice in intensifying the music rather than focusing on the contributions of the creators of Facebook and Google to the discourse surrounding technology companies capitalization on personal data as distasteful Volk contrasts the documentary style of The Social Dilemma with Orlowski s award winning 2014 documentary Chasing Ice noting that Orlowski didn t seem quite ready to let the power of facts and narrative speak for themselves this forced dramatisation took away the impact of the testimonials themselves Further Volk writes that the film should have further explored solutions to the unregulated psychological tactics of major social networking company 59 Girish Devika from The New York Times draws a comparison between this documentary and Orlowski s Chasing Coral and Chasing Ice since among the three documentaries Orlowski takes a reality that can seem too colossal and abstract for a layperson to grasp let alone care about and scales it down to a human level 60 Devika points out that the fictional narrative Orlowski implemented to illustrate the documentary s main points about social media s influence on one s psychology reads hyperbolic because the documentary s message suffers at the expense of a dramatized screenplay Devika ends her review remarking one can stream the documentary on Netflix where it ll become another node in the service s data based algorithm Industry response Edit Facebook released a statement on its about page that the film gives a distorted view of how social media platforms work to create a convenient scapegoat for what are difficult and complex societal problems 61 Mozilla employees Ashley Boyd and Audrey Hingle note that while the making release and popularity of The Social Dilemma represents a major milestone towards the goal of building a movement of internet users who understand social media s impact and who demand better from platforms the film would have benefited from featuring more diverse voices 62 Accolades Edit Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient s Result Ref ACE Eddie Awards April 17 2021 Best Edited Documentary Feature Davis Coombe Nominated 63 ASCAP Screen Music Awards May 17 2021 TV Documentary Score of the Year Mark A Crawford Nominated 64 British Academy Film Awards April 11 2021 Best Documentary Jeff Orlowski and Larissa Rhodes Nominated 65 BFE Cut Above Awards March 5 2021 Best Edited Single Documentary or Non Fiction Programme Davis Coombe Won 66 Boulder International Film Festival March 8 2020 Best Social Impact Film The Social Dilemma Won 67 68 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards December 21 2020 Best Documentary The Social Dilemma Nominated 69 Cinema Audio Society Awards April 17 2021 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Motion Picture Documentary Mark A Crawford Scott R Lewis Mark Venezia and Jason Butler Nominated 70 Cinema Eye Honors Awards March 9 2021 Audience Choice Prize The Social Dilemma Nominated 71 Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation Simon Barker Matthew Poliquin Matt Schultz and Shawna Schultz NominatedCritics Choice Documentary Awards November 16 2020 Best Documentary Feature The Social Dilemma Nominated 72 Best Political Documentary The Social Dilemma NominatedMotion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards April 16 2021 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing Feature Documentary Richard Gould James Spencer and Andrea Gard Nominated 73 Primetime Emmy Awards September 12 2021 Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special Larissa Rhodes Daniel Wright and Stacey Piculell Nominated 50 Outstanding Directing for a Documentary Nonfiction Program Jeff Orlowski NominatedOutstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program Vickie Curtis Davis Coombe and Jeff Orlowski WonOutstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program John Behrens and Jonathan Pope NominatedOutstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special Original Dramatic Score Mark A Crawford NominatedOutstanding Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program Davis Coombe WonOutstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction or Reality Program Single or Multi Camera Richard Gould James Spencer and Andrea Gard NominatedSan Diego Film Critics Society Awards January 11 2021 Best Documentary The Social Dilemma Runner up 74 St Louis Film Critics Association Awards January 18 2021 Best Documentary Film The Social Dilemma Nominated 75 Webby Awards May 18 2021 Advertising Media amp PR Branded Content Politics amp Advocacy Exposure Labs Won 76 See also Edit Film portal Internet portal Psychology portal Algorithmic radicalization Body dysmorphic disorder Communal reinforcement Cyberpsychology Digital citizen Digital media use and mental health Doomscrolling Facebook Cambridge Analytica data scandal False consensus effect Filter bubble Group polarization Persuasive technology Problematic social media use Search engine manipulation effect Selective exposure theory Social media and psychology Surveillance capitalism Targeted advertisingReferences Edit Products Data Briefs Number 361 March 2020 www cdc gov April 7 2020 Retrieved October 30 2020 Brown Sara MIT Sloan research about social media misinformation and elections MIT Sloan Retrieved May 15 2022 Campbell Denis January 4 2019 Depression in girls linked to higher use of social media The Guardian Retrieved May 20 2022 The Social Dilemma Ethics of Technology and Its Impact on Public Health NYU School of Global Public Health publichealth nyu edu Retrieved May 4 2022 a b c Facebook s former director of monetization says Facebook intentionally made its product as addictive as cigarettes and now he fears it could cause civil war Business Insider Retrieved May 2 2022 a b 3 Things We Learned About Social Media from Netflix s The Social Dilemma Blackstone LaunchPad November 2 2020 Retrieved May 11 2022 a b Carey Matthew January 10 2021 Director Jeff Orlowski Attacks Social Media Impact In The Social Dilemma We Live In The Matrix Contenders Documentary Deadline Retrieved May 26 2022 a b The Social Dilemma FAQs The Social Dilemma Retrieved May 26 2022 Orlowski Jeff September 9 2020 The Social Dilemma Documentary Drama Tristan Harris Jeff Seibert Bailey Richardson Joe Toscano Exposure Labs Argent Pictures The Space Program retrieved October 28 2020 Tristan Harris Do Our Devices Control More Than We Think NPR Retrieved May 2 2022 a b About Tristan Harris Retrieved October 28 2020 Your Undivided Attention www ted com Retrieved May 2 2022 Fiegerman Seth March 1 2019 Meet the unlikely duo trying to save us from our screens CNN Business CNN Retrieved May 2 2022 Book excerpt Jaron Lanier s Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now ABC News June 19 2018 Retrieved April 13 2022 Roger McNamee It s bigger than Facebook This is a problem with the entire industry The Guardian TheGuardian com February 16 2019 Bissell Tom January 29 2019 An Anti Facebook Manifesto by an Early Facebook Investor The New York Times ISSN 0362 4331 Retrieved May 2 2022 Spark me May 4 2017 Aza Raskin Spark me Where Business Meets Digital Innovation Retrieved May 2 2022 30 Under 30 Aza Raskin Massive HealthInc com July 2 2012 Social media apps are deliberately addictive to users BBC News July 3 2018 Retrieved May 2 2022 These 19 former Facebook employees are now leading some of the hottest enterprise tech startups Business Insider Retrieved May 3 2022 Novet Jordan August 24 2020 Asana business software company led by Facebook co founder files for direct listing CNBC Retrieved May 3 2022 Facebook co founder Dustin Moskovitz unveils new company Asana LA Times Blogs Technology November 2 2011 Retrieved October 28 2020 Levick Richard Surveillance Capitalism Monetizing Our Thoughts Forbes Retrieved May 3 2022 Heath Alex December 2 2016 Twitter Hires New Product Chief in Unusual Way Inc com Retrieved May 3 2022 Perez Sarah Stealth fintech startup Digits raises 10 5 million Series A from Benchmark and others TechCrunch Retrieved May 3 2022 Stone Will Aspiring Doctors Seek Advanced Training In Addiction Medicine NPR Retrieved May 3 2022 Opinion Social media is riskier for kids than screen time Washington Post ISSN 0190 8286 Retrieved May 3 2022 Haidt Jonathan Jonathan Haidt The Atlantic Retrieved May 3 2022 The Frontline Interview Sandy Parakilas FRONTLINE Retrieved May 3 2022 Sandy Parakilas www wespeakers ca Retrieved May 3 2022 Hannah Kuchler Apple recruits prominent Facebook critic for privacy team The Irish Times Retrieved May 3 2022 Weapons of Math Destruction Cathy O Neil adds up the damage of algorithms The Guardian October 27 2016 Retrieved May 3 2022 Randy Fernando www wespeakers ca Retrieved May 3 2022 Joe Toscano Simon amp Schuster Retrieved May 3 2022 Instagram only had 13 employees when it was bought by Facebook for 1 billion A decade later here s where they ve all ended up Business Insider Retrieved May 3 2022 Rashida Richardson Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies July 16 2019 Retrieved May 3 2022 Facial recognition gives police a powerful new tracking tool It s also raising alarms NBC News Retrieved May 3 2022 Rashida Richardson CV Rashida Richardson Retrieved May 3 2022 How an ex YouTube insider investigated its secret algorithm The Guardian February 2 2018 Retrieved May 3 2022 DiResta Renee Renee DiResta The Atlantic Retrieved May 4 2022 Facebook s First Human Rights Chief Seeks to Tame Digital Hate BNN Bloomberg BNN January 28 2020 Retrieved May 4 2022 Jack Dorsey confirms four more Twitter executives to leave company The Guardian January 25 2016 Retrieved May 4 2022 Palm loses their Ex Apple PR Head Lynn Fox TechCrunch Retrieved May 4 2022 Weller Chris A group of former Facebook and Apple employees are teaming up to warn kids about tech addiction Business Insider Retrieved May 4 2022 a b c d Palmer Katie September 17 2020 The Social Dilemma cast Who is in the cast of The Social Dilemma documentary Express co uk Retrieved May 7 2022 a b Felperin Leslie January 27 2020 The Social Dilemma Film Review Sundance 2020 The Hollywood Reporter Retrieved May 9 2022 a b The Social Dilemma Soundtrack Behind the Scenes The Social Dilemma February 11 2021 Retrieved May 15 2022 Ehrlich David January 29 2020 The Social Dilemma Review A Horrifyingly Good Doc About How Social Media Will Kill Us All IndieWire Archived from the original on April 17 2020 Retrieved September 12 2020 Every Viewing Statistic Netflix Has Released So Far What s on Netflix February 28 2021 a b The Social Dilemma Television Academy Retrieved February 6 2022 The Social Dilemma 2020 Rotten Tomatoes Fandango Archived from the original on September 13 2020 Retrieved October 10 2021 The Social Dilemma Reviews Metacritic Archived from the original on September 20 2020 Retrieved September 14 2020 Kennedy Mark September 8 2020 Review Put down that phone urges doc The Social Dilemma ABC News Archived from the original on September 16 2020 Retrieved September 9 2020 Minow Neil Reviews The Social Dilemma September 8 2020 RogerEbert com retrieved February 28 2021 Robertson Adi September 4 2020 Telling people to delete Facebook won t fix the internet The Verge Retrieved October 13 2020 Newton Casey September 16 2020 What The Social Dilemma misunderstands about social networks The Verge Retrieved October 11 2021 Malhotra Pranav December 8 2020 The Social Dilemma Fails to Tackle the Real Issues in Tech Retrieved December 8 2020 The Social Dilemma review A call to digital arms demands change Orlando Sentinel Retrieved May 26 2022 Volk Anna January 23 2021 Review The Social Dilemma Cherwell Retrieved May 26 2022 Girish Devika September 9 2020 The Social Dilemma Review Unplug and Run The New York Times ISSN 0362 4331 Retrieved May 26 2022 What The Social Dilemma Gets Wrong PDF fb com Retrieved December 7 2020 Boyd Ashley Hingle Audrey September 30 2020 You watched The Social Dilemma Read these 11 books next Fast Company Retrieved December 8 2020 Giardina Carolyn March 11 2021 Minari Trial of the Chicago 7 Among American Cinema Editors Eddie Awards Nominees The Hollywood Reporter Retrieved February 6 2022 2021 ASCAP Screen Music Awards American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers May 17 2021 Archived from the original on August 12 2021 Retrieved February 6 2022 2021 EE British Academy Film Awards The Winners British Academy of Film and Television Arts Retrieved February 6 2022 The BFE Cut Above Awards British Film Editors Archived from the original on March 6 2021 Retrieved February 6 2022 2020 Awards Boulder International Film Festival Retrieved February 6 2022 Boulder International Film Festival 2020 Program PDF Boulder International Film Festival Retrieved February 6 2022 Chloe Zhao s Nomadland Leads Chicago Film Critics Association 2020 Award Nominations Chicago Film Critics Association December 18 2020 Retrieved February 6 2022 Pederson Erik March 2 2021 CAS Awards Nominations Trial Of The Chicago 7 Sound Of Metal amp Mank Among Pics Vying For Sound Mixing Trophies Deadline Retrieved February 6 2022 Cinema Eye Unveils Full Slate of Nominees for 14th Annual Nonfiction Honors Cinema Eye Honors December 10 2020 Retrieved February 6 2022 Thompson Anne October 26 2020 Crip Camp Gunda and Mr Soul Lead Critics Choice Documentary Awards Nominations IndieWire Retrieved February 6 2022 Pedersen Erik March 1 2021 Sound Editors Nominate Wonder Woman Sound Of Metal Tenet amp Others For Golden Reel Awards Full List Deadline Retrieved February 6 2022 2020 San Diego Film Critics Society Award Winners San Diego Film Critics Society January 11 2021 Retrieved February 6 2022 2020 StLFCA Annual Award Winners St Louis Film Critics Association Retrieved February 6 2022 Winners Announced for the 25th Annual Webby Awards Webby Awards May 18 2021 Retrieved February 6 2022 Further reading EditThe Social Network The Internet s Own Boy The Great HackExternal links EditOfficial website The Social Dilemma on Netflix The Social Dilemma at IMDb The Social Dilemma at Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title The Social Dilemma amp oldid 1091255311, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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