For those that are still unfamiliar, Netflix’s ‘The Social Dilemma’ is a haunting insight into the actively manipulative, divisive, and addictive nature of social media technologies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Gmail.
The Documentary features several former employees of the above companies, including Tristan Harris, Tim Kendall, Justin Rosenstein, as well as other professionals such as Shoshana Zuboff, and VR pioneer Jaron Lanier. These featured guests each provide unique insight into the mechanisms by which these companies capture our attention and dictate what we see. The documentary digs deep into the unfortunate and unintended byproducts of these systems, pointing toward the particular decline in mental health among young teens, and pre-teen children, as well as the commercial incentive to drive the wedge between political opposites, and the subsequent threat of democratic collapse.
In response to this scathing review of their technology, Facebook has released an official response titled “What ‘The Social Dilemma’ Gets Wrong”. As the title suggests, it is a document denouncing many of the claims made by the the guests on ‘The Social Dilemma’. Here are the headlines:
- ADDICTION: Facebook builds its products to create value, not to be addictive
- YOU ARE NOT THE PRODUCT: Facebook is funded by advertising so that it remains free for people
- ALGORITHMS: Facebook’s algorithm is not ‘mad.’ It keeps the platform relevant and useful
- DATA: Facebook has made improvements across the company to protect people’s privacy
- POLARIZATION: We take steps to reduce content that could drive polarization
- ELECTIONS: Facebook has made investments to protect the integrity of elections
- MISINFORMATION: We fight fake news, misinformation, and harmful content using a global network of fact-checking partners