For his past two documentaries, filmmaker Jeff Orlowski focused on the environmental impact of melting glaciers and disappearing coral reefs. In the process of promoting the films, he began to notice a troubling and familiar pattern.
“We kept finding more and more people who were skeptical of climate change,” Orlowski says. “How is it that they’re in so much denial with all the facts and all the evidence? We were meeting people at film festivals, on the road, in Q&As, countless people who just questioned the climate science.”
Orlowski traced the source to the echo chambers of social media platforms and discrepancies in web searches, which can surface different information for different people.
“All of these technology systems are reinforcing different beliefs for people regardless of the truth,” Orlowski says. “We realized that this is a huge story. This is changing the way our entire civilization gets its information and thinks about truth and fact.”
And so began the journey to create The Social Dilemma, a deep dive into the algorithms and business models of the leading tech companies that are shaping human behavior and influencing politics. The documentary is now available on Netflix.