Impacts of a documentary: The Social Dilemma - analyzing changes in social media usage behavior


About the Project

In 2020, The Social Dilemma became the most popular movie on Netflix. The documentary reveals the downsides of the major social media platforms.

The goal of this project is to analyze the impact of The Social Dilemma on its audience’s attitudes towards social media. Does watching this movie increase/decrease/not change people’s social media usage?

To answer this question, we performed a series of statistical analyses on user-generated posts from Twitter and Reddit. Although our study reveals a difference in the user behavior patterns between the two platforms, the statistical results suggest that, based on the social media data, the movie did not change people’s social media usage.

  Student Team

  • Lucas Nguyen
  • Jasmine Kwok
  • Xavier Speropoulos
  • Eoin Hayes
  • Qiru Hu


  • Qing Huang, Sponsor
  • Erika McPhillips, TA


About UCSB's Center for Information Technology and Society (CITS)

CITS is dedicated to research and education about the cultural transitions and social innovations associated with technology, particularly in the highly dynamic environments that seem so pervasive in organizations and societies today. We also work to improve engineering through infusing social insights into the innovative process.

Faculty associated with our Center bring their diverse disciplinary perspectives—which range from Art and English to Sociology and Communication to Computer Science and Electrical Engineering—into conversation, forwarding cutting edge research across the engineering sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

Our research initiatives are equally diverse, ranging from ground-breaking research on social computing, to the role and effectiveness of technology in the classroom, to the role of technology in organizing community events. We study these and other relationships from the U.S. to Mongolia, and places in between.

Read more about CITS here.