Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Social Dilemma (2020)

I caught this Netflix original documentary examining the impact of social media platforms. Director Jeff Orlowski, who previously made the docs Chasing Ice and Chasing Coral, takes an unusual approach in blending the talking-head interview segments with dramatizations of a family torn apart by social media addiction. It's a melodramatic approach that undercuts the interesting observations of the interviewees -- made up largely of former execs, developers and other insiders from the major social media platforms.

Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell from Mad Men) has an amusing performance as "A.I.", manipulating social media users from a massive control center like a James Bond villain. And Kara Hayward from Moonrise Kingdom has a supporting role as well.

For anyone who has been following the insidious data-harvesting and user manipulation carried out by social media companies over the years, this doc will likely yield few surprises, but for everyone else it may contain some revelations.

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