Social media is taking up more and more space these days. We are often not even aware of the consequences of this. We present six films that will make you question your use of social media.
Every day, many spend a significant part of the day on social media. Almost everyone has several social media accounts at the same time. When scrolling through the newsfeed, we quickly forget the power that large digital corporations gain from evaluating our data. But not only personalized advertising and manipulation are dangers of the digital age: Our use of social media also has a very direct impact on our mental health. The high potential for addiction and the constant comparison with others are major stressors.
The following films take a similarly critical look at social media – whether as a fictional cyber thriller or an alarming documentary. That’s why we are of the opinion: You should see these films in order to use social media consciously. You can watch these films on Netflix. Watch interesting trailers on YouTube.
1. Black Mirror (2011-2019)
Black Mirror is a British science fiction series created by Charlie Brooker. While this isn’t a movie, each episode is self-contained and more like a short story than a series. The episodes play in different settings with different characters and address the downsides of new technologies. The title “Black Mirror” (in German “black mirror”) stands for the shiny screens of technical devices.
The series creates gloomy, partly black humorous future scenarios that result from the use of modern technologies. Although some visions seem constructed and not all episodes are equally strong, it’s fun to delve into the different realities and spin the dystopian episodes along with the series. The episodes are thematically widely spread, but all show in an exaggerated way what we are heading for when in doubt and hold the mirror up to the viewer.
2. The Social Dilemma (2020)
The Social Dilemma is an American documentary film that explores the impact of social media on our lives. Topics such as data mining, the effects on mental health – especially in children and adolescents – and the associated potential for addiction, which is often deliberately exploited by providers, are highlighted.
The documentary is divided into two narrative strands: On the one hand, it follows the fictional story of a boy who is becoming increasingly dependent on smartphones and social communication technologies. On the other hand, scientists, former employees, and executives of large corporations such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are shown, who share insider knowledge and provide exciting insights into the mechanisms and functions of these companies. The film captivates the viewer with its emotional narrative.
Despite the generally positive reception, the documentation also encountered criticism. Simon Hurtz complains in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the film is more like a dystopia than a dilemma since no solutions are presented and the only way out is to leave the system. He also criticizes that social media are presented too one-sidedly and not differentiated enough.
Although the film may present some aspects a bit abridged, it manages to do the essentials: wake you up and make you think by conveying a basic understanding of the algorithms and dangers of social media.
Read also: Tips to be Safe on Internet
3. The Circle (2017)
The sci-fi thriller is based on Dave Eggers’ best-selling novel of the same name and takes place in a dystopian future in which humanity is under complete surveillance. Facebook, Google and Apple are merging into one giant conglomerate called The Circle, collecting data on a massive scale. In the film, the company has all the private data of its users and can manipulate and control it for its own purposes – also at the level of interpersonal relationships.
With Emma Watson and Tom Hanks in the leading roles, the US production has a top-class cast, but the film evokes mixed reactions internationally. While the topic is important and the idea is good, the film is sometimes accused of being too artificial, unrealistic and not very dynamic. For example, the portrayal of the jaded society is criticized, which is only too happy and gullible to be lulled by the charismatic Tom Hanks. This may have little to do with reality, but the film offers plenty of food for thought and brings up some of the big questions of our time – especially the issue of data protection.