The Social Dilemma: A Movie Review

Hussein Reda
6 min readNov 3, 2020


nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse

Have you ever been impressed by a magician’s trick, then he told you this is not magic, it just a hand trick, this is also the case with social media after stealing your time.

This is a Movie Review For the Documentary Movie Form Netflix production, called /the social dilemma which discussed the link between mental health and social media use.

The Movie show how social media like (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, youtube, Snapchat, Linkedin, Reddit … etc ) affects our life and how are millions of people all around the world are addicted to using social media, To the point that some youngs wanting surgery so they can look more like they do in filtered selfies, which known as Snapchat dysmorphia.

people think that Google is just a search box, and Facebook is just a place to see what my friends are doing and see their photos. But what they don’t realize is they’re competing for your attention.
Social Media companies like this, their business model is to keep people engaged on the screen. They think about how to get as much of this user’s attention as they possibly can. How much time can they get users to spend?
How much of users’ life can they get them to give to us?
When you think about how some of these companies work, it starts to make sense. There are all these services on the Internet that we think of as free, but they’re not free. They’re paid for by advertisers.

Why do advertisers pay those companies? They pay in exchange for showing their ads to us.

there is a well-known quote say if you’re not paying for the product then you are the product, and here you are the rail product, these companies gain money because they have millions of users using it, and Advertisers have more opportunity for you to view their ads on these platforms.

These platforms can make a small change in your behavior, to adjust your behavior to suit the use of these platforms and the gradual slight imperceptible change in your own behavior and perception that is the product. It’s the only possible product. There’s nothing else on the table that could possibly be called the product. That’s the only thing there is for them to make money from.

Changing what you do, how you think, who you are. It’s a gradual change. It’s slight. If you can go to somebody and you say, “Give me $10 million, and I will change the world one percent in the direction you want it to change.
It’s the world! That can be incredible, and that’s worth a lot of money.

Photo by Will Porad on Unsplash Edit by Me

The marketplace that trades exclusively in human futures. This is what every business has always dreamt of: to have a guarantee that if it places an ad, it will be successful. That’s their business. They sell certainty. In order to be successful in that business, you have to have great predictions. Great predictions begin with one imperative “ you need a lot of data”.

and those markets have produced trillions of dollars that have made the Internet companies the richest companies in the history of humanity.

What people need to know is that everything they’re doing online is being watched, is being tracked, is being measured. Every single action they take is carefully monitored and recorded. Exactly what image you stop and look at, for how long you look at it. They know when people are lonely, depressed, or maybe looking at photos of your ex-romantic partners, They know what you’re doing late at night. They know everything about you. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, or what your personality type is like. They have more information about us than has ever been imagined in human history.

And so, all of this data that we’re… that we’re just pouring out all the time is being fed into these systems that have almost no human supervision and that are making better and better and better and better predictions about what we’re gonna do and who we are.

People have the misconception it’s our data being sold. It’s not in Facebook’s business interest to give up the data. What do they do with that data? They build models that predict our actions, and whoever has the best model wins.

All of the things we’ve ever done, all the clicks we’ve ever made, all the videos we’ve watched, all the likes, that all gets brought back into building a more and more accurate model. The model, once you have it, you can predict the kinds of things that person does. Where you’ll go. They can predict what kind of videos will keep you watching. They can predict what kinds of emotions tend to trigger you.

At a lot of technology companies, there are three main goals:

1. Engagement Goal: To drive up your usage, to keep you scrolling.
2. Growth Goal: To keep you coming back and inviting as many friends and getting them to invite more friends.
3. Advertising Goal: To make sure that, as all that’s happening, we’re making as much money as possible from advertising.

The Magic Of Social Media

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke

Magicians were almost like the first neuroscientists and psychologists.
Like, they were the ones who first understood how people’s minds work.
They just, in real-time, are testing lots and lots of stuff on people.
A magician understands something, some part of your mind that we’re not aware of. That’s what makes the illusion work. Doctors, lawyers, people who know how to build nuclear missiles, they don’t know more about how their own mind is vulnerable. That’s a separate discipline. And it’s a discipline that applies to all human beings.

A magician shows you a card trick and says, “Pick a card, any card.” What you don’t realize was that they’ve done a set-up, so you pick the card they want you to pick. And that’s how Facebook works. Facebook sits there and says, “Hey, you pick your friends. You pick the links that you follow.” But that’s all nonsense. It’s just like the magician.

Social media exploit a vulnerability in human psychology. Social media isn’t a tool that’s just waiting to be used. It has its own goals, and it has its own means of pursuing them by using your psychology against you.

that when we are uncomfortable or lonely or uncertain or afraid, we have a digital pacifier for ourselves that is kind of atrophying our own ability to deal with that.