#Happy: The Dictatorship of Happiness on Social Media

We spend hours on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, seduced by their promise: to be able to share our life and our opinions with the whole world. In this virtual world, everyone is happy. Everyone has perfect bodies, lives fulfilled lives in stylish houses surrounded by beautiful friends and family. Everyone shows off and everyone judges. But this irresistible quest for recognition can quickly turn into addiction, wreaking havoc on our mental health. And teenagers are the most susceptible. In this film, we examine the real dangers of the “happycracy” promoted on social networks and hear from some of its young victims.

Danny was 14 when he posted his first selfie on Facebook. But it didn’t get many ‘likes’, leading him to take more and more in a desperate attempt to secure the approval of others. Soon he was taking hundreds of selfies a day. He stopped eating in an attempt to perfect his body and lost 12 kg. Then he dropped out of school and spent six months unable to leave the house, believing that he was so ugly, people would be afraid of him. Desperate, he tried to kill himself. It was only when Danny stopped using social networks that he was able to slowly recover.

His is an extreme story but with the invention of the “like” and the idea of “self branding”, where everything must be validated by others to be real, the creators of social networks are changing our behaviours. Marie, 22 and with 4922 followers, is terrified of disappointing her subscribers.  So she spends one day a week perfecting an image of living the perfect Parisian life. Hours doing her make-up and taking hundreds of photos to create the one image she will post. She breaks down in front of the camera and confides how vulnerable she feels and how desperate she is to be liked.


  • Year: 2021
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: Particules Doc
  • Director: Elisa Jadot
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France

Related Programs

Everything We Know About You

What can be done to minimise the risk posed by big data while maximising the benefits? This report investigates.

More info

Cash Investigation: Ghost Workers

We’re at the beginning of an artificial intelligence revolution that promises to change everything. But in order to run their applications, digital giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook, employ an army of invisible labour.

More info

The Network of Hate

It is on social media that some of the most racist, sexist and homophobic comments are made, often under the cloak of anonymity. Who are the people behind these nasty comments?

More info