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Facebook counters portrayal in Netflix’s ‘The Social Dilemma’

Facebook came out with a seven-point document about what Netflix’s The Social Dilemma got wrong in the way the social networking website was represented.

The Social Dilemma is a documentary-drama hybrid which released on Netflix on September 9, 2020. It caused a sensation among the masses as it highlighted the consequences of our growing dependence on social media.

The thing that lent more credibility to this documentary was that Silicon Valley insiders revealed what all goes on behind-the-scenes. Among them were Justin Rosenstein, the co-inventor of the Facebook ‘Like’ button and Tim Kendall, the former President of Pinterest.

In the document that Facebook released in its ‘About FB’ section on October 2, 2020, they hit back at the Netflix documentary saying that The Social Dilemma concealed ‘the substance in sensationalism’.

While Facebook acknowledged that there should be meaningful exchange about how social media impacts the lives of the people, it went on to state that the documentary gave ‘a distorted view of how social media platforms work to create a convenient scapegoat for what are difficult and complex societal problems’.

The document uploaded by Facebook picked up on seven points about the way it was portrayed in The Social Dilemma regarding addiction, how people are not the product, algorithms, data, polarization, elections, and misinformation.

Facebook also objected to the non-inclusion of the current employees’ views, instead of relying on the narratives presented by people who haven’t been a part of the company for many years now.

The seven-point statement counters how Facebook:

  1. is not addictive, rather it builds its products to create value.
  2. does not consider people the product, instead, it wants the social networking platform to be available for free to people and that advertising funds it.
  3. uses the algorithm to keep the platform relevant and useful, as opposed to it being some ‘mad’ strategy.
  4. has taken steps to protect the privacy of its users.
  5. takes action against content that could result in polarization.
  6. has taken specific decisions to ensure free and fair elections.
  7. through a global network of fact-checkers fights the spread of fake news, misinformation, and harmful content.

Also read: Social Distance: Netflix’s touching anthology series on Covid-19 pandemic