The “Social Dilemma” is a documentary mixed with a realistic fiction narrative that was released on the popular streaming service Netflix back in 2020. The documentary reveals some on the more shady marketing tactics used by some of the biggest social media platforms that may be influencing and shaping you as a person without your knowledge. Here are 5 major takeaways top consider when watching Netflix’s ‘The Social Dilemma”.
1. Remarketing Is a Real Problem
What exactly is remarketing? Remarketing is a tactic used by businesses to promote targeted ads to the consumer in the hopes that they purchase a product. This is such a common practice that if you’ve ever even been on the internet you’ve probably experienced it. For example: Have you ever been surfing the internet for a particular topic like fitness training advice and then for the next two weeks you get ads that promote sales on different dumbbells or weight training machines? This is exactly what remarketing is. “The social Dilemma” shows how most websites keep a record of your viewing history and sell that information to companies that have an interest in marketing to you. Let’s say that on “Website A” you are looking at articles on how to build up running endurance. Without you knowledge Website A can sell that data to another website so that when you visit Website B you start getting ads for the newest Nike running shoes. Remarketing can be a dangerous marketing tool as no one knows what data is or isn’t out there being sold.
2. Social Media Can Have Intense Psychological Impacts
Throughout the documentary we are presented with multiple scenes following a fictional family as they wrestle with the ramifications of relying too much on social media. In this family we see how the youngest daughter struggles with intense self image issues as she finds approval in the interactions she gets through social media. What most people don’t realize is that social media companies design these apps to be addictive down to the color and sound of every notification. It’s no accident that every time you’re newest Instagram post receives a like your phone makes a distinct dinging noise. Without your knowledge your brain is being trained to received one big dopamine hit every time you see that screen light up. These social media companies want you to keep coming back to their apps because the more times you do the more data they have which in turn leads to a much stronger marketing plan. This is why there is such an addictive nature to these apps. While social media can help keep us connected during these isolating times we have to make sure we are setting limits for ourselves.
3. Social Media Can Influence Our Character
In theory the internet should be place where people can come together to share their ideas and opinions in order to promote civil discourse, however if you’ve ever seen a YouTube comment section you know that’s not always the case. While part of this is human nature another factor is big tech companies attempting to influence those opinions. “The Social Dilemma” shows how the internet has a way of promoting beliefs and opinions that only support your own interests. This is known as “confirmation bias”. People are going to naturally research evidence and arguments that support their own personal convictions. It doesn’t help that the internet is more than willing to promote and make it easier for you to find those sources without giving you other opinions to consider. “The Social Dilemma” shows this through the families teenage son who becomes almost radicalized as he delves deeper and deeper into fringe conspiracy theories on the internet. The scary thing is that as long as you’re engaged on these sites big tech is going to keep recommending this videos and articles because it knows it’ll keep you coming back.
4. You’re The Product
Most of the time we look at social media and the internet in terms of what it can do for us. However what most people don’t understand is that it’s the complete opposite. While the internet contains a wealth of knowledge and an endless stream of entertainment we often don’t realize that humans are the product. Your data and your personal information I the product and it is being sold over and over again without your 1) Consent or 2) Your knowledge. Remember that on the internet it’s not a matter of if your information is out there because the hard truth is that it most likely already is. The real question that everyone needs to consider is how is it being used?
5. Know The Facts
While fire walls and VPN’s can go a long way in securing your data the first step is to always know the facts. In order to combat cybercriminals and the tech companies that want to resell your personal information it is important to understand the tactics they use and how they evolve. The weakest link in cyber security is almost always the human being and that’s why it’s important to set limits as well as monitor your own personal cybersecurity hygiene.
Learn more about how Corporate Information Technologies can secure your business through our YouTube channel
And watch the trailer for Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma” here