10 Tips from the Experts on 'The Social Dilemma'

Netflix launched the award-winning investigative documentary The Social Dilemma about a month ago. The Official Selection of the Sundance 2020 Film Festival exposes the many dangers that social media has brought to our society, and it caught everyone by storm, and for good reason. 

Despite the disturbing revelations brought forward by the people that helped shape the Internet as we know it today, they remain optimistic. Through collective action, we can still reroute the direction social media is taking and drive it toward a better world. 

Here are ten things you can do right now to counteract the system, as stated by the same people who built it:

  1. 1. Delete unnecessary apps  

    We sometimes download apps we hardly use, anything from games to news apps. Evaluate which of these are unnecessary and delete them. 

  2. 2. Turn off your notifications

    Push notifications are social media’s way of fishing for your attention with the pretext of keeping you updated. Instead, turn these off. You will find out if it’s really important or not on your own time.

  3. 3. Switch from Google to Qwant

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    Unlike Google, Qwant does not store the user’s search history, let alone share it with third parties without the user’s consent.

  4. 4. Never accept the video recommendations on YouTube

    Taking control of what you see and read is another way to counteract the algorithm. Recommendations are built to keep you looped in and watch more videos for hours on end.

  5. 5. Download a Chrome extension that removes recommendations

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    AdBlock Plus is the world’s #1 Chrome extension that blocks out tailored advertisements to keep you online. Undistracted, DuckDuck Go, and Ghostery are other options you can consider to avoid these pesky ads.

  6. 6. Fact-check before sharing

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    We went from living in the era of information to suffering in the era of disinformation. Avoid sharing fake news and proactively verify if the information within the news you are reading is true.

    A hint: if the title immediately appeals to your emotions, or is unnecessarily sensational, then it is probably not true. 

  7. 7. Avoid clickbaits

    “Clickbaits create a financial incentive that perpetuates this existing system,” said Justin Rosenstein, former engineer for Google and Facebook, and co-founder of Asana. 

  8. 8. Follow people you disagree with

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    Here me out for a second. Different kinds of information keeps you out of the bubble the algorithm wants to keep you in; expose yourself to different perspectives so you are in tune with the reality around you. 

     

  9. 9. To parents: do not give devices to your children outside of educational purposes. 

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    Social media perpetuates their growth. Allow them to have an online presence when they reach high school, or at the age of 16. Keep devices out of the bedroom at a fixed time every night. 

  10. 10. Limit your screen time

    How much time do you want to spend online? Take back control of your time. Smartphones now have an integrated feature that shows you how much time you spend scrolling; the iPhone, for instance, has a settings feature called Screen Time

For a shorter answer: delete social media altogether and be part of the change. The Social Dilemma is a must-watch: check it out on Netflix, if you haven't already!