Reel Reviews: Put down that phone, urges doc ‘The Social Dilemma’

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By Mark Kennedy“The Social Dilemma” is the first film you’ll watch and immediately want to toss your smartphone into the garbage can. And then toss the garbage can through the window of a Facebook executive.It’s an eye-opening look into the way social media is designed to create addiction and manipulate our behavior, told by some of the very people who supervised the systems at places like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Tim Kendall, a former president of Pinterest, admitted that years ago he couldn’t get off his phone even when he came home, despite having two young kids. “I am going to work during the day and building something that then I’m falling prey to,” he says in the film. “I couldn’t help myself.”The documentary is a well paced, absorbing look at the deep costs of Big Tech — fake news, election security concerns, radicalization, polarization and much more. Only in trying to dramatize those costs does it slip up badly.Director Jeff Orlowski interviews former tech execs, historians and social scientists but apparently doesn’t trust them enough to tell the story. So he also employs a gimmicky family of five actors — two …

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