Review of The Social Dilemma on netflix

Netflix’s The Social Dilemma exposes the human impact of social media engineering – for profit.

Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma,” is a top ten trending documentary-drama exploring the dangerous human impact of social engineering based on data. This is social media’s greatest tech experts sounding the alarm on their own monster creations.

Released last week, The Social Dilemma focusses on the impact of social media on children, young people and their families. Big questions are raised about widespread data gathering and the way our information is used by huge global companies that do not have our best personal interests at heart.

The Social Dilemma’s makers explain that the “unintended consequences of exploitative technologies are catching up with us” in the form of mental health, democracy and discrimination dilemmas.

The show is a platform for “Silicon Valley insiders to reveal how social media is reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen.”

What you end up with is sometimes heartbreaking-to-watch scenes of family disruption as social media takes over young people in particular.

Executive and Silicon Valley types line up to tell how the system is designed to to manipulate users. The end goal for tech companies is to extract as much data about each user as possible. Sowing division along the way can help the process.

Facebook knew, far from ‘bringing people together’ its algorithm favoured arguments and division. Until 2019, Facebook allowed advertisers to use discriminatory targeting in advertising so companies advertising jobs, housing, and credit could choose to exclude people on the basis of gender, race, disability and other characteristics.

Looking for the Facebook “ad preferences” page is not simple and required (for this writer) a sit down with PC. But when found, it is data-heavy. Facebook has reams of information about me for advertisers on what news I consume, the business and industry I’m in, my travel and places that I visit, my sports activities, people I know, hobbies, education, the food and drink I like etc and it’s all based on my viewing habits.

How to find the Facebook “ad preferences” page and Facebook’s information about you

Using a PC:

Go to: Account / Settings & Privacy / Settings

Then go to: Your Facebook Information / Access Your Information

When you get to this screen (above), you might be shocked at how much information you have given Facebook. But we are not to our final destination yet. Scroll down that page and click on Ads and Businesses / Ads interests

At this page – the “Your ad preferences” page – you are starting to realise what Facebook is all about. You are the product and this is all about you. Your specs, details, dimensions.

Scroll down the Your Ad Preferences to Your Information and select: Your Categories

In addition to some of the strange categories Facebook has given me (above), they also say I am a frequent traveller (no) and a Frequent international traveller (No definitely not).

Facebook thinks I have made a “Recent mobile network change” (no) and I’m also a “Potential mobile network change” (No I don’t think I am).

But most of the information they have is pretty spot on. I have limited my personal interactions on Facebook so it doesn’t know as much as it could. But Facebook explains that it’s not just my activity on their own platform that they monitor. They have plenty of information on me from other places.

So I’ve gone through a maze of clicks and pages to find the “Your ad preferences” page but three quarters of Facebook uses are not aware that the company keeps lists of their personal interests (like who you support politically) for advertisers to access.

And when helped and directed to their own “Your ad preferences” page, 27% of survey respondents said the list was not very accurate. 51% were not comfortable that Facebook had created a list.

Netflix’s The Social Dilemma creators are urging people to take action and start conversations with friends and family about social media.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s