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The Social Dilemma

I watched Netflix’s documentary The Social Dilemma the other night. It’s been generating a bit of a buzz, and its subject matter – the effects of social media – is one I’m generally interested in. However, I wasn’t a fan.

While I totally agree with the sentiment that Facebook and Google (amongst others) don’t act in our best interests, there were more than a few aspects of this film that didn’t sit quite right.

Firstly, Netflix themselves are no angels (their CEO once said “sleep is our main competitor”) so for them to suddenly dress this up as “breaking news”, act as heroic whistleblower then make it all sexy with that typically shiny Netflix aesthetic, felt really disingenuous and nasty.

Secondly, why is it all former employees of Google and Facebook (with the exception of proper commentators like Shoshana Zuboff) that are “breaking the news” to us? It stinks of “I took the big pay cheque from a company doing bad things, now I’m taking Netflix’s pay cheque to rat on my former employee, even though Netflix do bad things too”. I trust some of these guys, and Netflix, about as far as I could throw them.

I like the social connection aspects of Facebook and it’s been handy over the years, but (lovely birthday messages and event planning aside) I wish I could bite the bullet and get off. I’d also love to see more people have their own websites/blogs – their own home on the web – and for there to be modern means of cross-communication between those. I reckon too many people have come to think that Facebook and Google are the web. They’re not.

You can have your own home on the web where the content you publish is not fodder for an algorithm that pushes you stuff and sells your data to the highest bidder.

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