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'A penetrating account of the momentous consequences of a reckless young company with the power to change the world' Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store and The Upstarts
How much power and influence does Facebook have over our lives?
How has it changed how we interact with one another?
And what is next for the company - and us?
As the biggest social media network in the world, there's no denying the power and omnipresence of Facebook in our daily life. And in light of recent controversies surrounding election-influencing "fake news" accounts, the handling of its users' personal data, and growing discontent with the actions of its founder and CEO, never has the company been more central to the national conversation.
In this fascinating narrative - crammed with insider interviews, never-before-reported reveals and exclusive details about the company's culture and leadership - award-winning tech reporter Steven Levy tells the story of how Facebook has changed our world and asks what the consequences will be for us all.
The social-media behemoth Facebook comes across as an idealistic but also shady, exploitative, and increasingly beleaguered entity in this clear-eyed history. Wired editor-at-large Levy (Hackers) treats Facebook largely as a projection of its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, whom he has covered for many years. His Zuckerberg is a talented entrepreneur whose motto, "move fast and break things," encapsulates a strategy of rapid software development and innovative products; a corporate predator who buys or crushes rivals; an off-putting nerd given to silent, unblinking stares underlings call them "Eye of Sauron" as his mental gears grind; a megalomaniac who used to end meetings by yelling, "Domination!"; and a messiah of digital connectedness (that conveniently lets him monetize information on everyone). Levy had extensive access to Facebook employees and paints a revealing and highly critical portrait of the company as it wrangled with charges that it violated users' privacy by sharing their data with advertisers and political operatives, and served as a vector for manipulative fake news, pro-Trump Russian propaganda, and hate speech. Levy's critique of Facebook is broad, but not always convincing: he's hard-pressed to show concretely how Facebook's privacy breaches have hurt anyone, and he's dismissive of Zuckerberg's free speech concerns about censoring Facebook content. Facebook-phobes will enjoy Levy's rich account of the company's creepy doings, but his take on Facebook's social impact smacks more of anxiety than thoughtful analysis.