One of Netflix’s most recent original movies is a documentary-drama hybrid called The Social Dilemma. When the 2021 Emmy nominee first came out, you needed a Netflix subscription to watch it. Now, the controversial examination of Facebook et al is available to stream for free on YouTube.
The Facts and Observations Detailed in The Social Dilemma
Netflix brought on Jeff Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis to write this biting narrative. Orlowski also directed the docudrama, which features interviews with many former employees, executives, and other professionals from top tech companies and social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Mozilla, and YouTube.
Throughout The Social Dilemma, the interviewees look at their own experiences working in social media and discuss how these platforms may have harmed society, politics, and culture. To be fair, some of the people interviewed do note the positive change that social media has had on society.
The interviews include the likes of Tristan Harris, former Google Design Ethicist; Tim Kendall, an executive at Facebook from 2006 to 2010; and computer philosophy writer Jaron Lanier, who penned Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now in 2018.
Discussions with other executives from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube mingle with observations by noted psychologists, medical doctors, and more.
Presenting Creative Nonfiction to Highlight the Impact of Social Media
The film also presents scripted dramatizations of a teenager’s social media addiction alongside the actual interviews.
Orlowski brought together Skyler Gisondo (Ben), Kara Hayward (Cassandra) and Vincent Kartheiser (Artificial Intelligence), among others, for the creative nonfiction aspect of the docudrama.
The Social Dilemma premiered at the 2020 Sundance film Festival on January 26, 2020. Netflix began streaming the film on September 9, 2020. Within the first 28 days of release, it was viewed in 38 million homes. The movie received seven nominations in the 73rd Annual Emmy Awards in 2021.
Rotten Tomatoes shows The Social Dilemma’s approval rating at 86 percent. While some critics claimed the film was overly simplistic, the overall consensus among critics has been favorable. Unsurprisingly, Facebook wasn’t a fan of the movie. You can easily come to your own judgment now that there’s no paywall between you and this exploration of how social media may be hurting us more than helping.