Released in the United States on September 9 2020, Netflix’s “docudrama” centers on people who helped design the social media platforms we’re all too familiar with. Most of their guests are former masterminds who created the algorithms used by Social Media giants.

I’m going to write about the material presented and give my two cents at the end of the article.

My Bias

I don’t like social media. Never have cared for it. I will never fully understand why so many people across the globe like posting about themselves and seeing what others are doing. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with social media or sharing what you’re doing with others.

My issue solely lies with the over-consumption of technology. Back in 2007, I was 18 and began to notice the more friends on Facebook the better I felt, or so I thought. Following each Facebook interaction I began to notice something strange. I didn’t feel better. I didn’t like how my emotions changed after looking at Facebook. It wasn’t a good change because more often than not I did not feel better about myself. A simple self-analysis led to a single conclusion: the mindless scrolling had to stop.

I would only go on Facebook if there was something specific I wanted to do. Friend someone I was currently talking to, in person. Traveled to Japan. Post a few pics. Eventually I found myself interacting less and less with Facebook. Eventually Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat would filter their way in and I had a similar mindset. Now, 99% of my social media usage is to promote my training business and publish articles like this one.

A question I like to ask myself, “Are my emotions negatively affected by something I see on a screen?” If the answer is ‘yes’ I’m over-consuming technology.

How they make money

The docudrama makes it clear Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. are not the product. We, the users, are the product. The customer is the advertiser. Silicon Valley makes truckloads ($275 billion in 2018) of money. That’s a higher output than Finland. This is possible because big tech knows our behavior. They’ve been carefully monitoring us for well over a decade. Naturally, advertisers will pay big bucks to market to our subconscious mind.

Addiction & Manipulation

If you’re reading this, I believe you are a person who thinks for themselves. You know at some level social media is engineered to keep us at maximum engagement. ‘The Social Dilemma’ cites Facebook, Twitter, and Silicon Valley as a whole is loaded companies who employ geniuses. They are the top computer programmers and algorithm writers in the world. In addition, they understand how to write code that follows everything that you do while using their platform.

  • What we ‘like’.
  • People we interact with.
  • Clothes we look at.
  • Favorite sports teams (I get A LOT of Tennessee Vols adds on Google).
  • Political leaning.
  • Our children.
  • Profession.
  • Restaurants we go to.
  • My spending habits (online and using algorithm using the “share my location” option on my phone).
  • Our current location.
  • What people in close proximity to us are saying and doing.

With an expertise on software writing and human behavior, engineers at Google, Uber, Facebook and beyond know us better than we know ourselves.

The docudrama makes it clear, the more you post, ‘like’, and interact with people, places, and things on Facebook or Instagram, the more likely it is you are in some way or fashion being manipulated by it. The algorithm uses our psychology against us. 


These algorithms were not developed by child psychologist who wanted to make children’s lives better. They were designed to keep kids engaged as long as possible so that they can learn as much about the child as possible. 

Gen Z, the kids born after 1996, were the first generation of kids who got on social media in middle school. A whole generation is seeing soaring numbers of depression, especially in teen and preteen girls. A similar chart was used in the docudrama.

Look at 2009, age 10-14. An increase of 189% in girls 10-14! This chart only goes to 2015. That number continues to climb. 10-14 year old girls are coping with similar levels of stress and anxiety as woman in their 20s. Why is this? Could it be too much social media?

Fake News & Propaganda

They discuss misinformation and it’s rapid spread. Specifically on Twitter, where false news spreads 6 times faster than true stories.

In Myanmar Facebook is essentially the internet. The docudrama made it clear that Facebook is the only source of information for the Myanmarese. The dictator government used propaganda to promote a strong bias against Muslims. In 2018, Facebook admitted the Myanmar government used their platform to incite the genocide of 700,000 Muslims in Myanmar and mass refugees.

They go into social media’s global impact on COVID, social justice, and politics. They didn’t spend too much time here. Perhaps because it’s currently ongoing.

Many of the former executives, engineers, and critics of social media and technology were cautiously optimistic about the future. However, they were clear that things do not look good now.

The consensus was our behavior must change and laws must change in order for us to live peacefully with one another. Many were advocating for our elected officials to create regulations that limit ‘Big Tech’ from preying on our subconscious minds.

They suggested a few key tweaks that could help separate us from the grip of technology:

  • turn all notifications on your smartphone off
  • no social media accounts until you’re 16
  • If you read something online, check to make sure it is accurate
  • use apps like moment
  • spend more time outside completely removed from your phone

My two cents: Where is the personal accountability?

It’s easy to blame someone else. Social media is not mandatory. Snapchat isn’t forcing 10 year old girls to create accounts. YouTube isn’t forcing us to go down into a deep video streaming rabbit hole. Reddit didn’t fine me when I deleted my account.

Before Big Tech changes, it’s up to us to change our behavior.

Why on earth are teen girls getting plastic surgery to tweak their face in hope they resemble the beauty filter on Snapchat? What parent thinks this is a healthy decision?

How did Facebook willfully allow the Myanmarese government to use their platform, to spread false information, with the singular goal to extract and murder hundreds and thousands of people in their country?

It blows my mind that I know at least half a dozen people who have lost a friendship or allowed a relationship with a family member to be damaged because they voted for different people.

Ultimately, I don’t think technology is destroying the world. I believe that we, as a civilization, must take responsibility for our actions.

Technology and social media are each wonderful tools. At it’s very best social media can help save lives, reunite families and long lost friends, and help communities grow stronger.

There’s no way we could have anticipated the power of technology and the toll too much of it can have on our human psyche. This doesn’t mean all is lost.

Early each morning I get on my knees to pray and giving thanksgiving to God. I ask for protection and discernment. Protection against deceit and distraction found around every corner in our world. Discernment to know when it is time to act or if I need to seek silence and listen.

The only thing that can ruin my world are the negative thoughts in my mind and emptiness in my soul. I pray every morning my mind remains SUPER positive and my soul filled to the brim with joy.