The Social Dilemma is an important and well-made documentary on Netflix about the toxic impact of social media apps on our lives. The film cites evidence from ex-Google and Facebook engineers about technological addiction, political manipulation, and mental health issues.
It is true that social media algorithms push content at us that confirms our biases and stokes outrage. But that’s not the whole story.
The Social Dilemma
Like a documentary version of The Social Network, this film uses interviews with former executives from tech giants to sound the alarm about how their data mining and manipulative algorithms are wreaking havoc on our privacy and, ultimately, our society. Orlowski enlists the help of experts from other industries, such as religious and spiritual groups, to bolster his argument that digital platforms must be changed before they destroy us all.
Despite its many alarming insights, The Social Dilemma sometimes falls flat by relying on simplistic metaphors. When several former execs are asked to explain the problems with social media, they seem stumped, almost as if they themselves don’t understand how bad things really are.
Thankfully, the interviewees’ expertise more than makes up for this shortcoming. The film is one of the most compelling and informative pieces about how big-name tech companies are hurting society – and, more importantly, how we can fix it. Whether you’re a prodigal tech bro or not, this is a must-see.
The Facebook Murders
After a video of someone suffocating kittens in a vacuum seal bag enraged the internet, Facebook avengers set out to find the suspect. Their efforts snowballed into a full-scale investigation that culminated in the arrest of Luka Magnotta. This true Netflix documentary is a riveting account of how social media can help solve murders.
A feud between two women on a Mountain City, Tennessee Topix forum became real-world tragedy. Four years ago, Jenelle Potter and her boyfriend killed their parents, reportedly over unpaid debts. This documentary investigates the murders through home movies, security footage, and police body cams.
The story of Kai the Hitchhiker, who was convicted of the 2013 murder of an attorney in his Clark home, is the focus of this riveting true crime documentary on netflix. Documentarian Jenny Popplewell uses home movies, security footage, and interviews with law enforcement to tell the tale. She also allows Shanann Watts to speak from beyond the grave through her texts and emails.
The Killing of Jun Lin
Luka Magnotta, the man hunted by a group of amateur online sleuths in this Netflix series, is now serving a life sentence for the murder of Jun Lin. Magnotta lured the 33-year-old Chinese international undergraduate student to his Montreal apartment with a Craigslist personal ad, then stabbed him multiple times and filmed himself sexually violating and dismembering him while he sang New Order songs. He also allegedly fed some of his body parts to his dog and ate others.
The documentary is being criticized for glossing over Lin’s humanity and making him out to be a mere prop in the story of his sadistic killer. His friends say he was a smart and caring man who moved to Canada from Wuhan, China, to study engineering and computer science at Concordia University and escape his culture’s pressure to marry. He was gay but still in the closet to most of his friends and family, including his parents.
The Killing of Luka Magnotta
Director Jeff Orlowski, best known for environmental films like “Chasing Ice” and “Chasing Coral,” wants his new documentary to help people reevaluate their relationship with technology. He worries that social media is eroding the shared sense of reality that holds society together.
The film looks at the case of Luka Magnotta, a Canadian man who killed and dismembered Jun Lin, a Chinese student studying in Montreal. After a video of the murder was posted online, Magnotta fled Canada and became the subject of a global manhunt. He was eventually arrested at an Internet cafe in Berlin while reading stories about himself.
The film also discusses Magnotta’s mental state and the way he used social media to lure followers to his crimes. His father said his son suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and started hearing voices as young as 18. Magnotta fashioned himself into a different person by undergoing plastic surgery, becoming an escort and porn star.