Facebook: series, films and documentaries to understand its crisis

It is not easy to summarize a university project that later became the most powerful social network in the world. What it is is that some controversies have been within the platform forever, such as user privacy and the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg. And to have more context of one of the socio-digital phenomena that have most impacted the world, nothing better than reviewing some series, films and documentaries that give an approximation to the (permanent) crisis of Facebook.

Also included is the recent interview of the now whistleblower Frances Haugen, who set off the platform’s alarms in early October 2021, when her identity was revealed.

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Productions to understand the crisis on Facebook

60 Minutes: Interview with Frances Haugen (2021)

In the legendary television program, the identity of the informant who had leaked confidential data about Facebook and its assets in 2021 was revealed. Now as whistleblower, Frances Haugen highlights the fact that the company prioritizes its business interests over the safety of its users.

Among the sayings of Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist who previously worked for Pinterest and Google, stands out that the company is lying to the public about making significant progress against hate, violence and misinformation. “On Facebook they have found that if they change the algorithm to be more secure, people will spend less time on the site, they will click on fewer ads and it will generate less money.”

60 Minutes

The social network (2010)

From renowned director David Fincher (Mank) and based on the book The Accidental Billionairesby Ben Mezrich, the film follows Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to create what is now known as Facebook. “I have to do something important so that the clubs pay attention to me,” is one of the phrases uttered by the student (Harvard University) and unpopular Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg; in the process, as is well known, he earned the enmity of some “friends,” to say the least.

With a soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the film was rated the best film of 2010 by much of the specialized press.

Netflix Apple TV

Inside Facebook: Secrets of a Social Network (2018)

Statements recently made by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen are not the first to emphasize that the world’s largest social network puts its financial interests above the well-being of its users.

Inside Facebook: Secrets of a Social Network, a documentary by Toby Paton, seeks answers on how the platform regulates harmful and malicious publications, in addition to stating that the organization sees extreme content as an end that leaves it large profits.

Apple TV

Facebook: Cracking the Code (2017)

What are you thinking? Behind this innocent question hides a whole system that seeks to contain people’s attention for as long as possible, raises this documentary by Peter Greste.

He also makes an analysis of what the figure of Mark Zuckerberg represents for the world: “He is making decisions about your life on Facebook and what the rules are. He is a benevolent dictator. You cannot say that this (the social network) is responsible governance or participatory governance ”, declares an expert interviewed by the production.

The Dangers of Facebook (2021)

This production, in the style of Vice, rejects fundamental facts in which the impartiality of Facebook was put at stake, such as the 2016 United States elections – in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton – or the conspiracy theories around vaccines to face the crisis that caused the health emergency that exploded in 2020.

One of the questions that it also tries to solve is how this platform went from being a site to connect to a service that can destroy the social fabric. Zeke Spector, producer of Vice, he wonders if we should really be afraid of Facebook.

Nothing is private (2019)

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the personal information of millions of Facebook users was used to profile voters and influence their political preferences, rocked the social network with great force, so much so that it did not take long for it to appear. Zuckerberg to try to calm things down. “I’ve been working to understand what exactly happened and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” the executive stated in March 2018.

The documentary Nothing is private, by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, explores the case that involved the political consultant and the social network through the stories of the people who were directly related to it. Here the phrase does make all sense: “Nothing is what it seems.”


The Facebook Dilema (2018)

The FRONTLINE documentary proposes responding to how Facebook was used to break democracy around the world, and for this it uses testimonies from both former employees and collaborators of the social network.

Likewise, it analyzes the figure of Mark Zuckerberg through the numerous interviews he has offered – in which it seems that the issue of privacy has always been a delicate matter and difficult to explain – and the complex algorithm that makes his platform work. The material, which is online, is divided into two parts.

The Social Media Dilemma (2020)

This documentary brings together several former employees of platforms such as Google, Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, Facebook, in order to give their vision on why social networks are so addictive and what is the system that makes users feel “Hooked” with the content they see here.

Likewise, the interviewees raised the possibility of putting stricter rules on these services, since it seems that self-regulation has not had favorable results, especially for their users. It is a work by Jeff Orlowski, also known for his documentary Chasing Ice (2012)


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