How do you use the internet to promote a movie that denounces the internet?
This was the question on writer-director Jeff Orlowski’s mind when trying to publicize his film, “The Social Dilemma,” which covers everything from social media addiction to Big Tech’s “surveillance capitalism.”
“We wanted to make something that people would talk about, not just mention in a post online, but actually talk about and bring up in conversation,” Orlowski said in the Variety Streaming Room, presented by Netflix. “That’s one of the things that we kept seeing over and over with this film — that it hit the zeitgeist, it hit people somewhere deep inside. There’s a truth here that people were exploring and understanding, and there were countless conversations in real life with friends and family about it.”
Orlowski, along with producer Larissa Rhodes and film subject Rashida Richardson (an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law), spoke with Variety‘s film awards editor Clayton Davis about the paradox of promoting an anti-social media movie on social media and how individuals can stand up to Big Tech.
While there are bigger, systemic level challenges to resisting tech giants, Rhodes said that on a personal level, she doesn’t use social media and turns of all notifications on her phone. She also recommended that people don’t keep their phones in their bedrooms, so that they can increase engagement with family.
“This problem is so big. It is a foundational problem,” she said. “And I think it’s really important to remember that you can feel alone in trying to tackle something so big, but there are individual actions that we can do.”
Watch the full conversation above.
Disclaimer: Rashida Richardson participated in this film solely in her personal capacity. The views that she expressed were her own and did not, nor were they intended to, represent those of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the White House, or the Federal Government.