A new documentary on Netflix – currently ranked as the seventh most watched film in the United States per the streaming service – openly calls for viewers not to click on recommended videos and to make choices for themselves.

It’s one of the many contradictions littered throughout director Jeff Orlowski’s strange yet insightful documentary/drama The Social Dilemma, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before dropping on Netflix this past Friday.

Speaking with many disillusioned former executives at major technology companies like Google, Facebook and Pinterest, Orlowski lays out the framework for a compelling argument about how irresponsible management (or lack thereof) has led to relentless volatility online that spills over into real life with increased political polarization and a lack of civil discourse.

While fellow Netflix documentary The Great Hack presents big tech’s data mining issues through a political lens via Cambridge Analytica’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, The Social Dilemma offers a more societal approach with a focus on the tricks and mechanics social media companies use to keep users online and engaged with their content.

The film features prominent advocates for responsible tech development led by former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris, who went on to help found the Center for Humane Technology but no current CEOs are included in the interviews. Fortunately, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s several appearances before Congress do give balance to the documentary, which often feels like a horror film.

Orlowski lays plainly the stealth ways tech companies drive the way their users think as one interviewee describes Google searches that begin with “climate change is,” noting that based on the user’s location and other collected data, what populates to fill out the suggested searches could easily vary from person to person.

The film’s biggest challenge, however, is presenting its arguments in such a way that it becomes relatable to younger audiences who may be in need of this advice more than any other generation.

Orlowski attacks this problem head-on by supplementing the traditional “talking head” segments that pervade traditional documentary filmmaking with a fictionalized account of a teenage brother and sister struggling with phone addiction, especially to social media programs that grow to shape how they view themselves and the world around them.

Within these interludes, Skyler Gizondo gives the part of Ben an often glazed over look in his eyes as if Ben is being hypnotized and emotionally manipulated by the things he watches on his phone. It’s part after school special level acting and part dramatic choice to make these segments feel like melodrama.

Audiences familiar with traditional documentary filmmaking will find these asides to be off-putting, taking them out of the flow of the narrative and making the film seem less urgent than the discussion taking place actually is.

But on the other hand, these interludes might actually be the most important part of The Social Dilemma no matter how poorly constructed or acted they are if their intended audience begins to scale back the tremendous amount of reliance on social media in their day-to-day lives.

It’s ironic that a film essentially warning its audience to leave social media is somehow also driving traffic back to the same outlets it advocates against as viewers feel compelled to see for themselves just how manipulative companies like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are being.

There’s certainly a dynamic to where viewers will be either scrolling through their social media accounts while watching The Social Dilemma on their smart TVs or pausing the film to check out the latest goings-on while streaming on their phone.

Although the information is unevenly presented, there’s still too much compelling discussion to be had about the pervasive role of social media in modern society not to make The Social Dilemma a worthwhile entry point to a larger conversation with family members, children or close friends.

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