‘The Social Dilemma’ Scientist Explains Why Social Media Is So Addictive on ‘Ellen’

Computer scientist Tristan Harris says that social media is a lot like gambling.

“A person is worth more if they’re addictively checking their phone like a slot machine,” he explains. “Sometimes you pull that slot machine, sometimes you get something nice – you get those five new likes or rewards, other times you pull that refresh and you don’t get anything. It’s that randomness that makes it so addictive.”

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Harris is one of the featured voices in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma”. Speaking on “Ellen”, the former Google employee explains that his experience in the field has shown what makes social media platforms perform best may not be what is best for a person.

“It felt like we were losing our way. More and more of our work was about manipulating people into getting their attention and less about what’s really good for people,” he says.

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Harris is hoping that this film will be similar to the 2006 global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” for the tech industry and serve as a wakeup call.

“These business models are not really aligned with the well-being of society,” he adds.

“The Social Dilemma” is now streaming on Netflix.

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