The more we learn about the insidiousness that underlies social media in the new documentary “The Social Dilemma,” the more it seems like the film is bringing a sling shot to a nuclear war.
What we learn in this movie is that our brains are being manipulated and even rewired by algorithms that are designed to get our attention and make us buy things, including buying into distorted ideas about the world, ourselves, and each other.
Brandi Carlile and Renée Elise Goldsberry Cover ‘I Put a Spell on You’ for the ‘Social Dilemma’ Soundtrack (EXCLUSIVE)
The part-documentary/part-drama “The Social Dilemma” deals in part with the spell that Silicon Valley tech companies have cast over a willingly mesmerized populace, and so Nina Simone’s version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic “I Put a Spell on You” was brought in as a musical accent mark for the film. For the soundtrack album, producers thought that maybe a new and lyrically updated version of the tune could be hypnotic in its own right.
That led to recruiting the surprising team of Brandi Carlile, the singer/songwriter who has come to be a recent Grammy queen, and Renée Elise Goldsberry, the singer and actor best known for her Tony-winning performances as the fiery Angelica Schuyler. They recorded a new version of “I Put a Spell on You,” not heard in the recently released film but debuting on the album that comes out Friday. Variety is hosting the exclusive track premiere in advance of its official bow on digital service providers. (Click below to listen via Soundcloud.)
Facebook Slams Netflix’s ‘The Social Dilemma’ as ‘Distorted’ and Sensationalist
Facebook complained that the film’s creators “do not include insights from those currently working at the companies or any experts [who] take a different view to the narrative put forward by the film.” In addition, the company said, “The Social Dilemma” does not “acknowledge — critically or otherwise — the efforts already taken by companies to address many of the issues they raise. Instead, they rely on commentary from those who haven’t been on the inside for many years.”
Regarding the film’s discussion of Facebook’s “mad” algorithm, the company also pointedly noted that Netflix itself uses an algorithm “to determine who it thinks should watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ film, and then recommends it to them. This happens with every piece of content that appears on the service.”
Among the points raised in “The Social Dilemma” that Facebook challenged:
- The company claims its News Feed product teams are not incentivized to build features that increase time spent on Facebook products.
- On election interference, Facebook said that it has “acknowledged that we made mistakes in 2016. Yet the film leaves out what we have done since 2016 to build strong defenses to stop people
from using Facebook to interfere in elections.”
- Facebook says the “idea that we allow misinformation to fester on our platform, or that
we somehow benefit from this content, is wrong.” The company claims it has a global network of more than 70 factchecking partners.
- Facebook says that, contrary to what the film suggests, the company has policies that prohibit businesses from sending sensitive data on people such as users’ health info or Social Security numbers.
- The company claims it has “made significant changes” to how it manages user data as part of the agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, under which it paid a record $5 billion fine. “We’ve created new safeguards for how data is used, given people new controls on how to manage their data and now have thousands of people working on privacy-related projects so that we can continue to meet our privacy commitments and keep people’s information safe,” the company says.