There’s a good chance that you found a link to this article on Jacob Graye’s Facebook or Twitter feeds. While social media has made the dissemination of information incredibly efficient, a forthcoming Netflix documentary calls for the entire Silicon Valley-based machine to be restructured before humanity is irreparably damaged.
Directed by filmmaker Jeff Orlowski, The Social Dilemma features the inventor of Facebook’s “Like” button and various former employees from Google, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
“What I want people to know is that everything they’re doing online is being watched, is being tracked…every single action you take is monitored and recorded,” one industry insider claims claims, while another explains that platforms employ teams of engineers to “use your psychology against you.”
It’s all pretty bleak. And in a recent Vanity Fair interview with accompanying the above trailer’s debut, Orlowski poses a drastic hypothesis: If social media continues as is, lethal human conflict and war will arise from polarized echo chambers.
“We are actively building systems that are causing polarization, that are causing echo chambers, that are dividing our country and our way of thinking. And it puts us on a path as Tim Kendall [former president of Pinterest and former director of monetization at Facebook] says in the film, the natural conclusion to all of this is civil war,” Orlowski said.
Fortunately, Orlowski has a solution that involves overhauling social media’s basic business models. The challenge lies in actually implementing said overhaul.
“From the [social media] perspective, we need to get off of an advertising extraction business model and I don’t know what it takes to get there. We need the public to change their mindset. We need the technologists to literally change the code, we need policy to shift to potentially change or even outlaw these business models.”
The Social Dilemma debuts September 9 on Netflix.