THE USER IS THE PRODUCT?
The film focuses on the idea that companies that build and run social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are constantly studying user data and utilizing psychological tactics to make their platform as appealing and addicting as possible, as well as learning as much as possible about their users so they can display the most relevant ads for each person.
According to the film, Facebook is not the product. YOU, the Facebook user, are the product that’s being resold to advertisers.
When you put it that way, it sounds like a dystopian horror show, although in reality, this essential idea is nothing new.
Advertising has been around for a long, long time because it’s a way for us to enjoy media like television, radio and newspapers and the internet ad low or no cost by creating marketing opportunities for companies to reach customers.
Good media, advertising, and frankly any type of leadership requires an understanding of the audience to effectively influence them.
One of the key concepts that allows the delivery of useful and even loved products is using user-centered design to learn as much as possible about users so that we can create the most desirable experience for them?
In one sense, that’s all these companies are doing, learning as much as possible about each individual user to give them the best possible experience and to target messaging to them in the most effective possible way.
But is it true that when companies get too good at this it becomes a bad thing?