The Great Hack: A Documentary That’ll Make You Hate Social Media

In 2009, I was signing up for Facebook for the first time. I was online on my Motorola phone and the idea of hyperconnected-ness seemed very cool and futuristic at the time.

Unbeknownst to me, I had also traded my online privacy. I poured down my private data like crazy ever since. I uploaded a lot of photos, videos, and also private texts in the Messenger. Until last year, I opted out of the social media service. Not again was I on that notorious site. I deleted my account in hopes that it stops tracing my online behaviors and influence my changes of mindset and behaviors. Scary.

I simply started to hate Facebook after the company has been involved in some incidents of privacy violation of its users. And the amount of hatred and hoax that circulate in it during the presidential election in Indonesia and the U.S. also made me so appalled and disgusted.

The notorious, massive scandal of online privacy violation that involved Facebook and Cambridge Analytica has even made me feel more disgusted.

I’ve been trying so hard to leave Facebook. And I made it.

But it has become a major global economic power that acts like an octopus. It has so many tentacles. Facebook is now the owner of Instagram, a social media app that I love so much. And to add to the horrid condition, it also acquires WhatsApp, a chat platform that Indonesians cannot live without. I too experienced a major failure in leaving it. The network of people that I know of sucked me back into the app once again until this very second.

So when I watched “The Great Hack” (2019) today, it triggered my emotion button. Now that I am actively involved as a volunteer in Mozilla Foundation, I have learned more knowledge on the importance of online privacy and data privacy and all the related issues.

Directed by Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, the movie was a reminder that everyone of us is now a pawn that is manipulated by a group of masterminds. From Mr. Trump’s victory to personality quizzes as baits for Facebook users to relinquish their personality tendency data, we can learn a lot here that humans and their data are now commodities.

Again and again, we are faced with the constant conflict between ethical-moral compass versus greed triggered by the use of technology. There are a cycle of it: first, people think technology is a savior; second, they use it without limits; third, they regret that they didn’t set the limits once it is too late. Humans are the most intelligent yet most foolish creature on the planet.

Brittany Kaiser is one of key figures here. And she is rather strangely acting as the bitch and the heroine in the documentary. How is it so? She is the bitch because she worked for Cambridge Analytica and allegedly heavily involved in pro-Brexit campaign and Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. In dire need for money to save her family from financial hurricane, she accepted the job offer from its former CEO Alexander Nix. There is no big deal if you steal bread if you’re starved but if your crime has affected more people than you can imagine, even death penalty is never enough. Go read this article to learn more about her.

Paul-Olivier Dehaye is a protagonist here. He is staunchly campaigning for online privacy and relentlessly strives for the internet users’ fundamental rights.

This documentary managed to force me to sit still and ponder, asking inside my conscience, why this should not considered a light crime. And it is right to be enraged and thus take actions against these kinds of most subtle mind and behavior manipulation.

Once again, I see how humanity fails in the temptation of greed of power and wealth. This has gotten me thinking into the question: “What’s next?” (*/)

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