The Social Dilemma: Exposing the Truth of Social Media

According to the website,, a 5,000 person study, showed that using social media for a long amount of time links to declines in life satisfaction and social, physical and mental health. The Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” explores this phenomena in more detail.

Zainab Khan, Radical Reviewer

“The Social Dilemma”, a Netflix Original released on Jan. 26, 2020 is a documentary that has just recently gained popularity for its interesting takes on social media and technology. The documentary immediately catches the audience’s attention with an eerie and interesting quote displayed on a dark screen, “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse,” said by Greek tragedian Sophocles.
The documentary then attempts to expose the truth of social media, how millions are addicted to it and the many tricks that corporations use to harness people’s attention. It also explains its role in mental health, the spread of fake news and cyber attacks.
It does this well by supplying interviews from credible sources, such as people with experiences working for Instagram, Facebook, Google, Youtube and more. It was honorable how the former workers of these companies even admitted that they had fallen for the same tricks of social media that they unintentionally played part in making. They discussed their hardships and the challenges they faced and how they would come home from work and fall into the same addictions.
The documentary also uses many different techniques to keep the audience entertained as it goes on including animations, diagrams and cartoons. There were also small scenes with actors that acted out real life scenarios to make this “dilemma” more relatable to the viewer. It focuses mainly on a family of five, including Ben, Cassandra, the mother and Isla, and showcases the real struggles in their mental health and social life caused by social media. Isla, who’s only in middle school, slowly begins to grow self-conscious over time due to social media’s influence.
One thing that is really compelling about the film is its references to magicians, illusions, psychology and neuroscience, and how social media can easily trick people’s brains into seeing the things that companies want them to see.
It also mentions how companies use techniques to keep people coming back to their app by using algorithms that specialize in bringing content relevant to the user. It stresses that big technology companies prioritize making a profit over ethics, thus causing this dilemma.
The film makes an interesting point about how, since these algorithms are programmed to cater to the user, it changes the way people get their news and can lead to rapid spread of fake news and conspiracies being seen as the truth.
The documentary is very insightful and includes many statistics and facts, making me reconsider my usage of social media and technology.
The documentary is fair, however, since it does include some of the positive benefits of social media such as how social platforms have connected, and at times, united the world in doing things that could previously never be done before.
Along with its film, the creators launched a website,, with even more facts and awareness about the harm of social platforms. On the website, there are a medley of ways to take action.
At the end of the film, a notion for change is asked for and is said to be needed. The tricks that social media has used to grow has now extended past that and is now affecting the mental health and lives of billions of people, especially those in younger audience.
“The Social Dilemma” does a perfect job at informing and teaching about how technology corporations trick their consumers. It is an important documentary that everyone should watch and experience.